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Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked To Addiction

Childhood trauma increasingly linked to later addiction

Social workers and psychologists are increasingly finding a link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and later addictive behaviors.

As reported by Citizen Times, Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE, are becoming an increasingly common method used by social workers and doctors to detect the likelihood of a child becoming an addict.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that leads public efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA defines Adverse Childhood experiences as stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance abuse disorders

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Dr. Blake Fagan, family physician at MAHEC in Buncombe County, described how ACE scoring works:

“If you are growing up and you see your parents beating each other, you get a point. If there is drug use in the home, you get a point. If you are abandoned by one or both parents, you get a point, and so forth,” Fagan said. “It adds up, and as it goes up you’re more vulnerable to having one of these substance use disorders – opioids, alcohol or even tobacco use.”

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To read more about how Adverse Childhood Experiences are linked to later addictive behaviors, please visit

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Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked To Addiction


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