A study has recently come out claiming that homeless people who struggle with an addiction began experimenting with substances at an early age.
The study was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and was conducted in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, which is known for their service to those on the streets. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, New York houses more than 60,000 homeless people. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that approximately 38 percent of homeless people struggle with an addiction.
The correlation of addiction and age
The study found that 100 percent of homeless people who were studied began abusing alcohol at a very young age. The study’s authors stated that most individuals do not understand or sympathize with the experiences of a homeless person who struggles each day to feed his or her addiction instead of helping him- or herself. If homeless people arrive at a hospital because of intoxication, they will often immediately return to the streets after receiving medical care.
The researchers interviewed 20 homeless people, all of whom were dependent on alcohol and had returned to Bellevue Hospital four or more times in a two-year period. All of the participants stated that they began drinking at young age, 13 said that their parents had battled alcoholism, and 13 stated that they had been victims of domestic abuse. Nineteen of the interviewees had been kicked out or chose to leave their homes when they were 18 years old. Two individuals had served time in the military, but both claimed that it had increased their dependence on alcohol.
The bridge between alcoholism and homelessness
The study revealed that the most reported reason for people’s homelessness was a battle with alcoholism. Of the 20 people interviewed, 11 were diagnosed with some sort of mental health disorder in the anxiety, mood or psychotic realm. All of the participants had, at some point, tried to get help for their addiction and entered a rehabilitation program. A year into the interview process, 25 percent of participants had died due to problems related to alcohol, like liver failure, assault, or trauma related to a vehicle.
The researchers believe that with time, homeless people’s motivation to get sober diminished because of a waning belief of a promising future. Given the amount of accessible help that focus on addiction intervention and overall improvement of patients’ quality of life, researchers believe that the number of homeless people battling addiction can be lowered.
It is imperative to talk to your children to prevent substance abuse and addiction, which can lead to further and bigger problems. There are many ways to talk to your children about substances in a way that is comfortable for them. If you know someone currently struggling with addiction and not seeking treatment, help him or her and bring your loved one to a local recovery treatment program or ask him or her to take up drug counseling.