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Citation: Jargin SV. Child Abuse, Autism and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. J Addiction Prevention. 2017;5(2): 4.
Child Abuse, Autism and Exces-
sive Alcohol Consumption
ey spent there also two subsequent summers, having almost
no contact with other children. e boy sat on a sofa or bench for
a long time, which did not contribute to his physical development
and communicative skills. Sergei (S.) recollects an episode that his
father later conrmed. e father came unexpectedly; little Sergei
(S.) is running toward him: “Daddy, daddy comes!” - stumbles and
falls down. en the father is shaking him and asking: “What did you
drink?” - and then argues with the nanny. Back in Moscow, the boy
asks for cough syrup. e mother gives him some mixture from the
pharmacy but the boy is wining and asking for the “true” syrup. e
nanny gave him sweat fortied wine as cough syrup, probably to calm
him down and not to be disturbed at night. ere was also some kind
of sexual engagement under the guise of hygienic smearing of genital
area with vegetable oil etc., which later resulted in “exhibitionist”
behavior by the little child, leading to punishments and bullying.
At the age of about 6-7 years, Sergei (S.) was noticed to have
autistic traits such as communication decits, failure to develop peer
relationships and motor clumsiness. Some symptoms compatible
with the ADHD (Attention Decit Hyperactivity Disorder) were
observed as well: inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, the latter
being more pronounced in a familiar environment. Appearance of the
Open Access
Journal of
Addiction &
Prevention
Sergei V. Jargin*
Department of Pathology, People’s Friendship University of Russia,
Russian Federation, University of Russia, Russia
*Address for Correspondence
Sergei V. Jargin, Department of Pathology, People’s Friendship University
of Russia, Russian Federation, University of Russia, Clementovski per 6-82,
115184 Moscow, Russia, Tel: +7 495 9516788; E-mail: sjargin@mail.ru
Submission: 10 April, 2017
Accepted: 02 September, 2017
Published: 08 September, 2017
Copyright: © 2017 Jargin SV. This is an open access article distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited.
Case Report
Keywords: Autism; Autism spectrum disorder; Alcoholism; Child
abuse; Bullying
Summary
This report describes a co-occurrence of child abuse, autistic
symptoms, impulsivity, hyperactivity and excessive alcohol
consumption in the victim’s adolescence and early adulthood.
The conclusion is that environmental factors such as physical and
psychological abuse may contribute to development of autistic
symptoms. Some children with autistic traits may be physically abused
ADHD children or initially healthy ones. In the atmosphere of domestic
violence and bullying, ADHD manifestations such as impulsivity and
hyperactivity may be regularly punished. Abnormal behaviors partly
compatible with the ASD may be adaptive. Alcohol is consumed by
some adolescents with autistic traits to overcome communications
barriers. Besides, loitering with groups of adolescent alcohol abusers is
a way of escape from domestic violence.
Introduction
ere is considerable evidence demonstrating associations
between childhood trauma, including physical, sexual and emotional
abuse, with negative mental health, physical health and social
outcomes, decient communicative skills, antisocial behavior,
substance abuse and, in particular, misuse of alcohol in a victim’s
later life; further details and references are in [1-3]. Detection of the
abuse and exposure of perpetrators oen depends on the victim.
It is easy to expose a socially unprotected abuser, for example an
alcoholic or a mentally abnormal individual. Otherwise, dierent
tools can be applied to prevent a disclosure: denial of facts and
accusations of slander, threats, intimidation or subornation of the
victim, appeals to preservation of honor and reputation of the family,
nation, etc. It should be mentioned that over 99% of publications on
child maltreatment have been based on research conducted in more
developed countries [4], while in less developed societies the child
and elder abuse can persist without much publicity.
e prevalence of the substance use disorder among individuals
with autism was reported to be relatively low [5]; however, there may
be an underestimation [6]. Persons with high-functioning autism
without intellectual disability may drink alcohol to cope with anxiety,
to maintain friendships and gain access to new relationships [6,7].
Furthermore, the youth with ASD were found to be at a higher risk
of victimization and bullying [8-12]. Given the association of autistic
traits in adults with the abuse in their childhood, studies identifying
causal mechanisms can improve preventive eorts [13]. Here is
presented a case illustrating a combination of the above-named
symptoms and factors, followed by a discussion of potential cause-
eect relationships.
Case Report
When Sergei (S.) was three years old, his parents were divorcing,
while he was sent with a nanny to a suburb village (Figure 1).
J Addiction Prevention
September 2017 Vol.:5, Issue:2
© All rights are reserved by Jargin.
Avens Publishing Group
Invi ting Innovations
Figure 1: Sergei and his nanny, year 1957.
Citation: Jargin SV. Child Abuse, Autism and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. J Addiction Prevention. 2017;5(2): 4.
J Addiction Prevention 5(2): 4 (2017) Page - 2
ISSN: 2330-2178
autistic symptoms coincided with the time when the socially unskilled
child was exposed to bullying; the symptoms further aggravated in
parallel with the physical abuse at home. During the school time, Sergei
(S.) exhibited xated interests deemed unusual by some pedagogues:
profound study of history, of several foreign languages etc. Besides,
it should be mentioned that Sergei (S.) has a relative macrocephaly
(head circumference at an adult age approximately 60.5 cm), similarly
to his mother and father, who both were professors. An increased
prevalence of macrocephaly has been described in children with ASD
[14,15]. Some researchers reported a higher level of functioning in
children with ASD and macrocephaly in comparison to those with
average head circumference [16]. Moderately expressed marfanoid
features (long limbs, arachnodactyly, hypermobility of some joints,
hiatal hernia in a later life) were noticed in Sergei (S.) and some
maternal relatives. An association of macrocephaly, Marfan-like
ligamentous laxity and Asperger’s syndrome has been reported [17].
It should be mentioned without implying cause-eect
relationships that the onset of behavioral abnormalities coincided
with the UHF therapy for allergic rhinitis and tonsillitis. e
therapy with ultra high frequency (UHF) electromagnetic elds has
been ocially recommended in the former SU and broadly used in
otorhinolaryngolical conditions since the early 1960s [18,19]. Last
time, the extremely high frequency (EHF) waves have also been used
for respiratory and allergic conditions in children, while absence
of contraindications has been pointed out [20]. At the same time,
reports on non-thermal and non-cancer eects of electromagnetic
radiation from anthropogenic sources, in particular, functional
derangements of the nervous system, have been appearing [21,22],
although substantiation remained doubtful [23]. However, doses of
thermal intensity used in the UHF therapy are higher than those from
the environment. Considering anatomical proximity of the tonsils,
nasal cavity and neural structures especially in children, there have
been concerns about such use of microwaves, the more so as excessive
exposures and imprecise focusing may occur in the therapeutic
practice. Subsequently, at the age of 6-7 years, Sergei (S.) underwent
tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy with inadequate local anesthesia
and questionable indications. Later it has become evident that he had
allergic rhinitis. Interestingly, larger head sizes were reported to be
associated with allergic disorders in patients with autism [24]. As for
the family history, Sergei’s maternal grandfather misused alcohol,
paternal grandfather died of renal failure presumably in consequence
of a professional poisoning by mercury, and maternal grandmother, a
radiologist, died of cancer in her thirties. Sergei’s mother, an orphan,
had been adopted (and occasionally maltreated) by her aunt.
When Sergei (S.) was 7 years old, his mother married a 13 years
younger person. e following risk factors of child maltreatment
were present [25]: poor social support, presence of a younger child,
family history of abuse: the abuser had been beaten by his father.
e abuse was administered by slapping in the face and head as well
as beating with a belt, oen under the pretext of punishment, but
sometimes without any pretext. Episodes of violence went along with
intimidation by gestures and grimaces as well as verbal abuse. ere
are statements in the literature that abusive encounters are heavily
laden with emotion [26]. In this case, it could have been so in the
beginning, but later the scenes of abuse became somewhat theatrical
and less emotional on the part of the perpetrator. Apparently,
violence has become the abuser’s habit and obsession. e abuse
sometimes occurred in front of spectators: the mother, relatives or
friends. On rare occasions, the mother participated in battering,
which is in agreement with the data that mothers tend to abuse
their children at higher rates when their partners are not fathers of
the victims [27]. A motive could have been squaring of accounts
with the disloyal partner in the person of his son probably on the
background of dissociation as the maternal aection was present and
spontaneously returned during the earlier childhood. Apart from
irregular nourishment now and again, an example of neglect was a
deprivation of training clothes during the earlier school time. e boy
was regularly sent to gymnastics lessons inappropriately dressed, so
that his genitals could be seen during exercises, in spite of written
reprimands from the teacher. is was one of the immediate causes
of the bullying as well as delayed physical development: the teacher
le the boy sitting on a bench during gymnastics lessons. An ethnic
factor played a role: the abuser was of Jewish descent, while Sergei
(S.) used to stress his Russian ethnicity. Having a Jewish stepfather,
who even worked for some period at his school, Sergei (S.) was
oen treated by the social environment as a member of the ethnic
minority. It was expressed by bullying, sometimes visibly inspired
by adults including some teachers and other children’s relatives. It
is known that bullying happens at schools, where children do not
feel safe to report bullies [28]. e author does not intend to say that
Jewish children were generally bullied at Soviet schools. Many of
them were not, because they had been prepared by their families and
did not deny their dierence. On the contrary, Sergei (S.) behaved
ambitiously, involuntarily provoking his environment. Sergei (S.)
himself participated in bullying other children, his role thus being
classied as bully-victim, reportedly more at risk of substance use
than pure bullies or victims [29]. As usual in such cases, Sergei (S.)
was ashamed to tell to anybody about the abuse at home. Once he
answered armatively a question of a teacher whether he had been
physically punished; it had no consequences. Another teacher,
surprised by xenophobic remarks made by Sergei (S.) at school,
came with a home visit, which was followed by a discontinuance of
the abuse for several months accompanied by an improvement of his
progress in school studies; further details are in [2].
Apart from occasional participation in parties at home and
drinking up to a bottle of beer with a schoolmate, Sergei (S.) did not
consume alcohol till the age of 13. at summer he drank a 0.75 l
bottle of fortied wine with an older boy. During the subsequent year,
his alcohol consumption increased up to 250 ml of vodka with beer or
a 0.75 l bottle of fortied wine at one sitting. An opportunity to stay
away from domestic violence was provided by a drinking company
of schoolmates including older boys inspiring alcohol purchase
and consumption. During the following years, he was several times
detained by the police (militia) and spent at least two nights at a
sobering-up station. At the age of 13.5 years, Sergei (S.) ran away
from the everyday’s violence rst to his grandmother and then lived
about 2 years in a small apartment together with the new family of his
father. ereaer he was manipulated to return to the mother’s at.
Aer the admission to a university, a separate room was rented for
Sergei (S.). Next year, because of drunkenness and absenteeism, he
was dismissed from the university and served 2 years with the army;
Citation: Jargin SV. Child Abuse, Autism and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. J Addiction Prevention. 2017;5(2): 4.
J Addiction Prevention 5(2): 4 (2017) Page - 3
ISSN: 2330-2178
his education was interrupted for 4 years. e immediate cause of
the dismissal was as follows. Having worked 2 months with a student
construction brigade (stroyotriad), aer a provocation from the
social environment and excessive alcohol intake, Sergei (S.) went
with a companion to a Black Sea resort, he was robbed and remained
without money for a return ticket. Despite repeated telegrams and
telephone calls, he received money with a delay, which resulted in
about 2 weeks’ tardiness at the university. At the age of about 22.5
years, Sergei (S.) underwent an implantation of a disulphiram
preparation Esperal®, which was followed by a period of abstinence
about 8 months long. Aer that he resumed alcohol consumption:
2-3 binges monthly with dosages as described above or higher. Sergei
(S.) discontinued the alcohol misuse at the age of about 35 years,
when it has become incompatible with his professional duties. Later
he did not resume the excessive alcohol consumption in spite of
provocations from the social environment. With time, subconscious
motives of the alcohol intake have become clear: alcohol helped him
to overcome communication barriers. It was, however, associated
with risks: not possessing sucient social skills, his rhetoric and
actions under the impact of alcohol were sometimes precarious [30],
which resulted e.g. in misdemeanors (minor hooliganism and public
nuisance, petty larceny, drunk driving) and detentions by the police.
is illustrates a mechanism contributing to the alcohol consumption
not only in autistic persons: becoming “insider” through drinking
with peers. is mechanism was exploited: in workers’, students’
and intelligentsia companies, the ringleaders were observed, who
manipulated others towards alcohol intake, while non-drinkers were
sometimes stigmatized [31].
Discussion
In the former Soviet Union, the child abuse and neglect has been
rarely discussed. Public organizations and authorities sometimes
did not react to known cases of domestic violence: for example,
Sergei’s grandmother wrote letters to the authorities about this case
of abuse, which had no consequences. A part of the society seems to
be opposed to a public discussion of violence in families. Dimensions
of the problem are dicult to assess as there are no reliable statistics
[32]. ere is no generally agreed attitude to the problem and no
consequent policy, which is complicated by a shortage of adequately
educated personnel and limited use of the foreign professional
literature [33,34]. Scenes of violence and death are oen shown
on the Russian TV today, distracting the public attention from
less spectacular oenses including child and elder abuse. Violence
towards children is sometimes discussed by the mass media as a
norm. For example, the famous lmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov said on
28 May 2014 from the TV screen without a trace of disapproval that
his father Sergey Mikhalkov, the well known writer, slapped him in
the face, which can cause additional cases of concussion in children.
Celebrities are oen copied. Note that a man’s hand is weighty. By the
given impulse, the damage might be higher in cases of macrocephaly,
which is associated with the ASD [15].
e ASD cases are oen marked by symptoms consistent with
ADHD [35-37]. In the case presented here, ADHD symptoms
were observed especially during the early childhood: inattention,
impulsivity and hyperactivity, the latter being more prominent in
a familiar environment. Emergence and further exacerbation of
the autistic symptoms coincided with the time when the socially
unskilled child was exposed to bullying and domestic violence.
In the author’s opinion, physical abuse is an undervalued cause of
autism. Some children with autistic symptoms are probably abused
ADHD children or initially healthy ones, possibly having unusual
traits predisposing to the bullying. In the atmosphere of bullying and
domestic violence, ADHD manifestations such as impulsivity and
hyperactivity may be regularly punished. Abnormal behaviors seem to
be a kind of adaptation in some cases, a consciously or subconsciously
implemented strategy to avoid the trauma. Such behaviors might be
compatible with ASD e.g. failure to respond to social interactions,
poorly integrated communication, abnormalities of eye contact,
decits of developing and maintaining relationships (DSM-5).
Deranged relationship with parents such as the reduced sharing of
emotions or interests (DSM-5) can in some cases be explained by
the child abuse. An association of both the ASD and ADHD with
deranged relationships with parents, maternal stress and child abuse
has been reported [13,38,39]. Other features compatible with the
ASD may be secondary to a decit in relationships with peers and
family members or result from sublimation as a defense mechanism
against anxiety or psychological trauma e.g. xated interests such as
the study of special subjects beyond the school program [35].
According to the hypothesis discussed here, some ASD cases may
be caused by intrinsic factors while others are induced or reinforced
by environmental factors such as the physical abuse and bullying.
ADHD, ASD and social anxiety disorder have partly overlapping
symptoms [36,37,40,41]. A dierentiation may depend on external
factors: in an environment permitting impulsivity and hyperactivity,
the child would preserve ADHD features or develop in a typical
way. In conditions of bullying and/or domestic violence, regularly
punishing impulsivity and hyperactivity, the child might be “trained”
towards abnormal behaviors aimed at avoidance of the trauma. It can
be also hypothesized that children with macrocephaly are consciously
or subconsciously more preoccupied with protection of their heads.
On the other hand, macrocephaly, “giedness” [42], marfanoid or
other unusual features might predispose to the bullying. e cause-
eect relationship may be bidirectional: autistic symptoms can
enhance the risk of domestic violence and bullying while the violence
would induce or reinforce abnormal behaviors. In this connection,
the heritability of the ASD has a non-genetic explanation in some
cases. e child abuse is associated with inadequate parenting [43];
children of deviant parents, exposed to the maltreatment, acquire as a
result deviant features themselves. In conclusion, the child abuse and
bullying may be causative factors of atypical behaviors compatible
with the ASD.
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... Indeed, in contrast to individuals with ASD traits alone, individuals with comorbid ADHD traits have been found to have an increased risk of alcohol abuse [14,18,25,26]. It has been suggested that the underlying reasons for the increased alcohol consumption among youngsters with co-occurring ASD and ADHD symptoms could be in part genetic but may also be a direct, impulsive, response to dealing with stressors in the immediate environment [27,28]. Autistic traits have been associated with an enhanced risk of exposure to environmental stress, e.g. to bullying or child abuse [27,28]. ...
... It has been suggested that the underlying reasons for the increased alcohol consumption among youngsters with co-occurring ASD and ADHD symptoms could be in part genetic but may also be a direct, impulsive, response to dealing with stressors in the immediate environment [27,28]. Autistic traits have been associated with an enhanced risk of exposure to environmental stress, e.g. to bullying or child abuse [27,28]. The co-occurring (impulsive) traits associated with ADHD may cause the young individual to initiate alcohol use. ...
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... The divorce followed after 3 years. The mother was also a postgraduate student; the boy spent time with a middle-aged nanny, with whom he spent 3 summers in a room rented in a suburb [11]. There were almost no contacts with other summer residents; the boy sat a lot of the time on a sofa or on a bench, looking at passing trains, which resulted in the physical retardation and insufficient social skills. ...
... It was demonstrated that the child maltreatment is a risk factor for the adolescent binge drinking. However, the current evidence is considered to be insufficient to prove this relationship for male adults; some studies do not indicate a significant association between the sexual or physical abuse of a child and alcoholism in adult men; further details and references are in [11]. ...
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The book is available at: https://novapublishers.com/shop/advances-in-sociology-research-volume-36/
... (2) A case of child abuse followed by alcohol overconsumption by the victim was reported previously [13]. The ethnic factor obviously played a role as the abuser was of Jewish descent while the victim was ethnic Russian. ...
... (3) The victim of child abuse was prone to alcohol consumption and binge drinking during his adolescence and early adulthood. Cause-effect mechanisms have been discussed previously [13]. At the age of 22 years he started relationship with a 7 years older woman coming from another Soviet republic. ...
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... Furthermore, alcohol consumption is associated with IPV [8,9]. Here are presented four case histories on alcohol abuse, reproductive coercion and IPV, a continuation of the series of reports started previously [10][11][12][13]. All cases are from the late Soviet era. ...
... A case of child abuse followed by alcoholism in the victim was reported previously together with discussion of cause-effect relationships [13]. The case history had a prequel. ...
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... It has been estimated that up to 20% of burn injuries are the result of child abuse or neglect, with highest incidence among children 0-4 years of age [11]. A superficial scald burn of the genital area with hot soup occurred to a 3-yearsold boy in conditions of child neglect [12]. Immediate medical help was not sought. ...
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https://www.avensonline.org/fulltextarticles/JCMCR-2332-4120-07-0040.html
... In routine practice excessive exposures and imprecise focusing may occur. A singular case of transitory strabismus and dysphagia in a child, started at the time of the UHFtherapy for allergic rhinitis and tonsillitis at the age of 4-6 years, is known [15]. Since the early 1960s, the UHF treatment has been recommended for use in the pediatric otorhinolaryngology by the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. ...
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The true extent of school bullying among youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) remains an underexplored area. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to: (a) assess the proportion of school-aged youth with ASD involved in school bullying as perpetrators, victims or both; (b) examine whether the observed prevalence estimates vary when different sources of heterogeneity related to the participants' characteristics and to the assessment methods are considered; and (c) compare the risk of school bullying between youth with ASD and their typically developing (TD) peers. A systematic literature search was performed and 17 studies met the inclusion criteria. The resulting pooled prevalence estimate for general school bullying perpetration, victimization and both was 10%, 44%, and 16%, respectively. Pooled prevalence was also estimated for physical, verbal, and relational school victimization and was 33%, 50%, and 31%, respectively. Moreover, subgroup analyses showed significant variations in the pooled prevalence by geographic location, school setting, information source, type of measures, assessment time frame, and bullying frequency criterion. Finally, school-aged youth with ASD were found to be at greater risk of school victimization in general, as well as verbal bullying, than their TD peers. Autism Res 2015. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.