Abuse, Neglect & Addiction

Abuse, Neglect & Addiction

Abuse is an uncomfortable topic.  Let’s open this discussion up to anyone reading. My hope is that you can feel comfortable enough to share your own story or experience with us. Especially if you think that it could benefit someone else. If you would like an opportunity to add to any of our posts or discussions you can email us at opendiscussionapparel@gmail.com

I want to talk about the different reasons why a person might start using drugs at a young age.  Different forms of abuse and neglect are obvious patterns and paths into the world of addiction. Abuse comes in many forms including; Sexual, Mental, and Physical.

Most people (children, teens, and adults) use drugs or drink alcohol for one reason. They want to feel good, or they are running away from a bad feeling. That is why I have so much empathy for people stuck in the cycle of addiction.  When children experience sexual abuse, it forces them to grow up and realize things about their bodies they’re too young to comprehend. This can impact their confidence and the way they interact with their peers. In situations where children are mentally abused, they develop harsh responses and incorrect feelings about their environment and the people in it. When children are physically abused it alters their personalities and their feelings about their own self-worth.

The Pain of Abuse

All forms of abuse create trust issues and intense emotional pain. When a child’s brain is exposed to a stressful event the brain learns to adapt and respond differently. Many times it learns an improper and unhealthy response. Issues like anxiety and depression can even creep up on you later in life. Therefore making ordinary everyday struggles seem more difficult.

Now imagine someone who just wants to escape the pain of their rotten childhood.  They find a substance that makes them forget about their father’s physical abuse or the inappropriate way their babysitter touches them. To them, this is the best way they’ve found to cope with their pain. I understand we need to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves. However, when you are running away from the heavy generational pain it becomes hard to understand happiness.

Maybe to correct addictive patterns we need to define where our happiness lies. At some point no matter what anyone has done to hurt you, you have to understand that to succeed you need to forgive them. You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and figure out how to solve the situation you’re in no matter who you feel put you there.

Neglect and abuse often go hand in hand

When a child’s basic needs are not met it’s easy to understand why they might turn to drugs and alcohol.  Think of a child who doesn’t get enough to eat. This could cause numerous issues with their development. They may develop weight issues later in life, or struggle to ever maintain a healthy balance with their diet. Even something that might not seem like a big issue for some people, eating habits can be detrimental to your child’s success.


Conversely, a child who feels left out might believe they have found acceptance in a group of kids who use drugs. That child may be more susceptible to trying them for many reasons (listed about) and may try drugs to fit in.  The real question is why do they lack the confidence of their peers and how do parents notice a lack of confidence and work on building their child up. My hope is that any child going through an emotional situation would feel like they could talk to a member of their family. It might seem silly to have to say it but children require parenting. They require guidelines, empathy, structure, discipline, proper diets, and communication. If you create a healthy environment for your child they can use the tools you give them to combat early drug use.

Try paying attention to your child’s mood. Have an open discussion with your child and enjoy them. Above all, they are mini versions of you. You have the most important impact on them. You teach them how to view the world until they can start developing their own opinions. Help them to not have to chase their pain away with external substances, happiness comes from within.


  1. Counseling, finding social inclusion, and something like OD are what I would recommend to these unfortunate children. Empowering the child to willfully seek remediation is the catalyst to recovery. All of these recommendations can be obtained with the average smartphone(Betterhelp, OD webpage access, and facebook groups to name a few). I am not claiming that these methods will fix the child, I am simply proposing an alternative to the easy way out, drugs. Drugs are never the solution because the distraught child hasn’t developed fully. However, my conflicting view of their effectiveness in treating many environmentally acquired problems is actually more rational than your view of abstinence. It’s unfair to say that because opiates kill mass numbers of people, all drugs have a similar destructive effect. MDMA cures PTSD. Cocaine enables the individual suffering from TBI. Weed is a great way to proliferate a damaged child’s social presence. And prescription drugs, those that increase the same chemicals in the brain as recreational drugs, have become so ubiquitous that greater than 50% of people receive placebos today. So don’t conform to absolution as a way of thinking and continue writing on your website this way; as people will undoubtedly pick up on your website’s exclusion of openness.
    You see, the main problem is that no one knows their haunting stories. Once the abuse is brought to the attention of a parent(usually by a friend of the victim selling him/her out), one cannot alter the child’s disposition. It eventually turns into lackadaisical regard for their well being, as parents hit a rut and push their hurting kid into opening up to professionals, despite the child’s view of them as unconcered strangers. They are reluctant to divulge anything related to their trauma or substance abuse because of the fear of increasing their problems. Their fear stems from the potential embarrassment or punishment that may occur. It appears very probable and some never recover from it, having to take anxiety pills for the rest of their lives, among other things. For the ones that give into opening up, destroying their habituated way of thinking, their world slowly gets better. They may even become stronger as a result and excell in many aspects of their lives that were previously nonexistent. It takes a good shrink to manipulate, and an even better one to leave the participation up to the victimized as a choice. AGAIN I SAY, willingness is the catalyst to recovery.

    It is not cool to say we all use drugs for one reason. It’s not ok to typify all children as outcasts who turn to drugs to fit in; or feel better. The only way anything that you are saying makes any sense is if the child is of such a young age that they had to develop those personality and subsequent social manifestations before developing into a person of their own, as a result of not having a peer collective because they were too young to go to school. If you took any sophmore level psychology course in college, you would know that the age of trauma plays a common role, not definitive!, in the actions and behavior of adolecents. Perhaps when you get done reading this reply, you re-read it. Maybe you will look past the confrontational nature of it and accept your failure in this post as an opportunity to create better content. And when creating AN OPEN DISCUSSION, maybe think about giving your readers a few statistics to back up your claims. I think just the thought of including statistics when you begin writing will prevent you from speculation and stereotyping people. The fact that your statements weren’t intended to be construed as opinions but facts is indicitive of your inability to create content in a discerning way. Lastly, I think your intention in creating this topic is one of assertion, rather than open in nature, and how you wrote out what the children need belittles the severity of their condition. It is more complex than you can imagine! Anyways, Good Luck !

    1. Matt thank you for your thought, it’s comments like yours that contribute to an Open Discussion so we sincerely appreciate it! You touch on a wide range of topics that I’ll try to address. I would like to point out this post is just one piece to our larger message. Like you said, “the main problem is that no one knows their haunting stories,” and that’s the purpose of this post. It was written by someone who’s lived through abuse and it was her thoughts on how we can be better prepared to handle these problems in society.

      It should have been made more clear that this was an opinion piece (editors mistake, my bad) and your suggestion to provide supporting statistics was excellent. According to the American Journal on Addictions, 75% of women who enter substance abuse treatment programs report having experienced sexual abuse. Admittedly this a far smaller scope that what’s written but it is relevant to the writers story and I would expect the trend to be consistent regardless of gender and across forms of abuse.

      We’re not claiming all people who use drugs do so for one reason. However, a common theme from my experience has been people generally use drugs to fill a void. The article states most people use to feel good or to stop feeling bad. Habitual drug use is often self medication for a deeper rooted problem. We propose the idea that drugs might appear to offer a social group to an adolescent child with feelings of isolation. According to SAMHSA (Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) “In 2011, the majority of substance abuse treatment admissions aged 18 to 30 with known age of initiation information (74.0 percent) began substance use at the age of 17 or younger; 10.2 percent initiated use at the age of 11 or younger.

      You seem to be misunderstanding our message in saying, “My conflicting view of their effectiveness in treating many environmentally acquired problems is actually more rational than your view of abstinence.” The feedback is appreciated because my intent, like the name implies, is to create an Open Discussion on drugs not to push an agenda of abstinence.

      If you get a chance to respond I’m curious what you meant in saying, “prescription drugs, those that increase the same chemicals in the brain as recreational drugs, have become so ubiquitous that greater than 50% of people receive placebos today” Are you claiming that when a doctor writes a Vicodin prescription there’s a 50% likelihood it doesn’t contain hydrocodone?

      Once again, thank you for the feedback! I really appreciate your suggestions and I hope this clarifies any misconceptions!


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