It’s Time to Discuss the Elephant in the Room: Childhood Maltreatment and Risk for Alcohol Use Disorder during Adolescence/Young Adulthood

Early life stress (ELS) is a well-established risk factor for many psychiatric disorders, including alcohol use disorder (AUD). The relationship between ELS and AUD is complex and there are likely multiple pathways from ELS to adverse alcohol-related outcomes. The association between ELS and alcohol use emerges during adolescence/young adulthood. It is unclear what mechanisms during adolescence/young adulthood contribute to AUD—and could be targeted for early interventions following ELS. This talk will discuss studies substantiating the role of ELS in adolescent/young adult alcohol use. We will explore how ELS may interact with genetic vulnerability and psychopathology to contribute to AUD. We will examine clinical work suggesting ELS sculpts the developing brain—particularly systems underlying reward sensitivity and executive control—in a way that increases risk for adolescent/young adult alcohol use and AUD. Data investigating the role(s) of ELS on alcohol-related outcomes in bipolar disorder will be emphasized. ELS is prevalent in bipolar disorder and bipolar disorder coincides with some of the highest rates of addiction out of all psychiatric disorders. We will highlight data from 200 adolescents/young adults—data pooled from three studies in youth with, or at risk for, bipolar disorder and healthy comparison youth—suggesting ELS contributes to risk for alcohol misuse through changes in brain development, subjective and neural response to alcohol, and interactions with genetic vulnerability.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate the role of early life stress in substance use disorders
  • Analyze pathways by which early life stress may translate into risk and onset of addiction
  • Recognize the role mood disorders may play in development of addiction following early life stress

Prescribing clinicians and their teams

Continuing Medical Education
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Maine Medical Education Trust and CCSME. The Maine Medical Education Trust is accredited by the Maine Medical Association Committee on Continuing Medical Education and Accreditation to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Maine Medical Education Trust designates this regularly scheduled series for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

*Nurses and Nurse Practitioners will be awarded a certificate of participation with a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Contact Hours
1 contact hours for social workers, licensed clinical professional counselors, and behavioral health professionals.
1 Category I contact hours for psychologists. CCSME is a pre-approved sponsor and provider of Professional Education Activities for Psychologists.
1 contact hours for Alcohol and Drug Counselors pending approval by the Maine Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors
1 contact hours CHES. CCSME is a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.



May 07 2024


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm



More Info

Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine


Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine