Running Head: RESEACH PAPER ON CORRELATION BETWEEN SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE AND TRAUMA
RESEACH PAPER ON CORRELATION BETWEEN SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE AND TRAUMA
What is the correlation between substance dependence and trauma?
There have been many case reported of resulting to substance use after personally experiencing trauma or witnessing a traumatic experience happening to someone else. Others have been reported where trauma is experienced after use of hard drugs or alcohol mostly in people who are already aIDicts. Different people react differently when they face certain traumatic situations either through withdrawal from the public, depression, stress or substance use. All these are different reactions to trauma experiences. Other individuals are able to hold the trauma and withstand its effects by not reacting in a negative way. Due to the abundance of such reports we sought to find out why individuals who have had traumatic experience seek result to substance abuse.
Traumatic cases are many and can result from victimization in family, bullying in schools, car accidents, sexual abuse like rape, neglect, physical abuse, divorce, and separation from parents or friends in form of death, disappointment serious illness, falls or surgery. We also wanted to know what kind of traumatic experiences would most likely predispose individuals to substance dependence. Research has also indicated that substance abuse and dependence can make an individual prone to post trauma disorders. This has been the case in many adolescents and youth. In America it is estimated tat at least 80 percent of individuals have experimented on drugs. This basically translates to more people being predisposed to experience trauma.
With these facts we wanted to find out the correlation between substance dependence and trauma by finding out why people result to substance abuse after traumatic experiences and how many cases of trauma are due to substance abuse or dependence.
According to Giaconia, Reinherz, Paradis and Stashwick (2003), researchers have tried to explain the relationship between substance abuse and trauma in so many ways but what stands out in these researches is that trauma predisposes an individual to substance abuse and substance abuse increases the risk of experiencing trauma. How does this happen? Traumatic experiences are usually a painful reminder to many and they cause deep emotional experiences. In order to try and escape this individuals turn to self medicating them using drugs like alcohol and other psychotic drugs to try and numb themselves.
Substance dependence follows soon after trauma exposure. The associated traumatic stress makes it even hard to quit substance abuse as even reminders create cravings with people on transition in treating the trauma and drug dependence. Previous studies have established a link between alcohol and risky behavior engagement which expose the youth to traumatic experiences like driving under influence of alcohol, walking in neighborhoods that are not safe and hitchhiking. People who are already hooked to substance abuse are also less able to handle traumatic experiences due to functional destructions. This is because people with dependence on substances do not have the skills to cope with trauma, (Ford, Hawke, Alessi, Ledgerwood % Petry, 2007). Research has also tried to figure out whether individual personality is important to figure out vulnerability to substance dependence and trauma. When exactly does a person experience trauma? After multiple exposures to traumatic experiences or one time is enough to cause trauma? Also what is it that triggers individuals to result to substance abuse which leads to dependence? Anti social behavior is the bridge way between trauma and substance dependence, (Livesly, 2001).
Most males than females are mostly the ones who result to substance abuse after traumatic experience. This has been explained to be caused by superiority complex. Males have a tendency to act as if everything is fine so as not to admit an emotional weakness or defeat. Because they never speak out or seek help, their problems keep piling up and the only way out becomes drugs. This resort is so that they can feel at the top of the situation or so that they can forget the traumatic experiences by numbing their brains and nerves. Females have however shown vulnerability to experience trauma if they are dependent on substances. This likely hood is because generally female species is weak emotionally and the fact that drugs increase this vulnerability, a situation can lead to trauma experience.
In this research we incorporated survey research as our method of selection. There are two types of survey research methods, interviews and questionnaires. Interviews will be completed by the group members based on how the interviewee responded to the questions asked. The questionnaire consisted of a set of written questions that were distributed among the respondents and were collected after some time, (Trochim, 2006). The survey method will involve random selection techniques since people with trauma and substance dependence are many.
This research involved a hundred respondents who were randomly picked in rehabilitation centers.
The respondent population involved mixed gender of 23 females and 77 males. There was also a variation in ages of respondents involved. People suffering from both trauma and substance abuse or those who have experienced such are from different categories. Most were adolescents and youth that made up 75 percent of the respondents. The rest were children, 17 percent and adults, 8 percent.
To speed up the process of data collection we had to give something to the respondents. We distributed key holders and hats and promised to give a copy of the final report to the respondents so as to actively involve the participants in this project.
This being a research involving human beings we had to observe several ethical codes stipulated for research. The first process was to seek permission from the administration of the rehabilitation centers to use their patients as our subjects. We also had to be granted permission by school administration ethics committee to ensure that we followed the code of ethics in conducting our research.
After obtaining permission to go ahead with the research, we approached several individuals in the rehabilitation centers seeking their participation. Before they agreed to be respondents we had to inform them several things so that participation was at free will.
One of the things that we had to inform potential subjects was the objectives of the study. Why we were conducting this research and what we hoped to achieve. They were informed of the potential benefits and risks of the study. Benefits included enlightening the students on the relationship between trauma and substance abuse and ways to cope with trauma without having to rely on hard drugs or alcohol. Potential risks could emerge from exposure of their condition to the public because this data was going to be stored in both written form and on computers. Nowadays, there many versions of computer hacking software available used in retrieving stored data. Papers also could get misplaced before we had the opportunity to destroy them.
To ensure confidentiality of our respondents, names were excluded from questionnaires and interviews. Instead, we used numbers and alphabets to differentiate between respondents. We assured the respondents that any information disclosed would be kept confidential by destroying all questionnaires after data analysis and not including names in the final report unless written permission was obtained from the respondents.
No threats were issued but we felt we had to use incentives to make the respondents feel part of the research. The participants were also informed that they could pull out of the research if they felt like even in the miIDle of answering questionnaires or interview. We acknowledged that we were dealing with sensitive individuals therefore we did not want to run the risk of relapse. Certain questions would require personal answers and we know that reminders of trauma experienced could trigger cravings for drugs or lead to violent behavior. We ensured that all our participants were aware of their rights before they agreed to be involved in this research.
To ensure full application of research code of ethics, the conclusions and discussions in this report are entirely based on the information collected from the respondents. Objectivity is the key to accurate research.
Giaconia, R. M., Reinherz, H. Z, Paradis, A. D and Stashwick, C.K. (2003), Co morbidity of substance use disorders and post traumatic stress disorder in adolescents, Washington DC, American Psychological association, 227-242.
Ford, J. D, Hawke, J., Alessi, S., Ledgerwood, D., and Petry, N. (2007), Behavior research and therapy, 45(10), University of Connecticut school of Medicine Psychiatry, 2417-2431. Doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2007.04.001.
Livesly, J. (2001), Handbook of Personality disorders: Theory, research and treatment, Guildford Press, 94-96.
Trochim, W. M. K, (2006), Survey research, Research Methods Knowledge Base. Retrieved on February 10, 2011 from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/survey.php.