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Assessing families and treating trauma in substance abusing families

Stevenson, A. and Burke, D. – 2011

This presentation discusses the impact of parental substance abuse on children and youth. Provides tips on assessing substance abuse in the family. Describes the connection between parental substance abuse and child trauma, outlining how substance use leads to child abuse and neglect. Presents data illustrating the prevalence of trauma among children and youth. Lists indicators of trauma in children and teens. Notes the prevalence of substance use among adolescents who have experienced trauma. Lists risk factors for adolescent substance use, including exposure to parental alcohol and drug use. Discusses how trauma impacts adolescent development and behavior. Explains how exposure to trauma impairs brain development. Also notes the effects of prenatal substance exposure on brain development. Provides advice for mental health professionals on working with maltreated children, noting the need to recognize how trauma has affected their neurodevelopment. Also discusses the need to address co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders in adolescents who have experienced trauma. Lists recommended treatments and strengthening factors for clients with substance abuse and trauma issues.