Childhood Abuse leading to Addiction – who is blamed?

Coming up with a title for this post was tough.. It is easy to answer the question and not read the post.

Who is blamed for childhood abuse? – Adults/caretakers in that child’s life.
Who is blamed for addiction? – The individual who can’t help themselves.

But before you click away, what if I posed an answer that said we as a community and society can also be blamed for this?

In reading an article outlining an interview with Canadian physician and best-selling author Dr. Gabor Maté, it made me think about how policies and outreach can help create a better environment for children to live and develop.

Dr. Maté’s response to whether or not genetics is linked to behaviors and dysfunctions in humans is very intriguing.  In part, genetics HAS to play a role in tendencies, but Dr. Maté poses that if we place blame on genetics for behavior and dysfunction, then it takes people off the hook.

“Well, if people’s behaviors and dysfunctions are regulated, controlled and determined by genes, we don’t have to look at child welfare policies, we don’t have to look at the kind of support that we give to pregnant women, we don’t have to look at the kind of non-support that we give to families…” – Dr. Gabor Maté

If we are taken “off the hook” so to speak, then we don’t have to worry about not providing prenatal care for at-risk mothers or support services for young families on the brink of poverty.

Children who grow up in low-income families are more likely to be abused, more likely to be neglected, and more likely to end up as addicts.  The environment that a child grows up in creates the person that child will become, and parents in these situations are subject “not [to] bad parenting, [just] extremely stressed parenting”. And, this stress affects the child.

To read the full interview of Dr. Gabor Maté, click here.  To help directly, visit HealthNet’s website and learn about our Better Indy Babies Program, or donate directly to help a low-income family in Indianapolis create a better environment for their child.

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