Addiction is something that affects approximately one in ten people over the age of 12. Addiction can occur with things like prescription drugs, recreational drugs, pornography, food, and alcohol. While some people are born with an addictive personality that puts them at a higher risk of developing an addiction at some point in their life, experiencing childhood trauma can cause a lifetime of addiction if left untreated. While some youth may experiment with addictive substances in their younger years, there are emotions and issues that run very deep. A very valid reason for addiction, this trauma needs to be addressed in order for recovery to take place.
If you were to look closely at all of the people in the United States that have experienced some form of childhood trauma, twenty-five percent of them would go on to develop addictions. It’s incredibly hard to deal with forms of trauma as an adult. When you go through something very difficult in your younger years, this can shape you for the rest of your life. This can apply to rape, murder, intense level of pain, witnessing something tragic or abuse. While the addiction may not occur right away, using substances to ‘cope’ with this trauma can lead right through to adulthood. There will come a time when this stress becomes unbearable. This is when addiction is triggered.
How Is Addiction Treatment Different if Childhood Trauma Influences You?
Addiction is difficult to overcome when that’s the main focus of the recovery. However, adding in trauma from your childhood can make things even more challenging. Since the root of the addiction is childhood trauma, this trauma needs to be addressed and treated before the addiction can be taken care of. The addict’s mind will just keep going back to that pain that they experienced during their childhood. Reliving that time will drive a person to use drugs or alcohol in order to numb the pain, regardless of how long they’ve been dealing with it. There are a number of therapies that can be worked into addiction treatment for this type of scenario. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will help with replacing negative thoughts and feelings with something more positive. Coping mechanisms can help a person through their stress and anxiety when they are experiencing memories of their traumatic childhood.
A Whole Body Approach
When a person has post-traumatic stress disorder from something they went through during their childhood, this involves the body actually having arousal of the nervous system. In other words, the body can go into a fight-or-flight reaction even long after the trauma has occurred. This is the body’s way of trying to run from the problem or memories. Our brains are pretty adaptable as humans, but trauma in childhood is something that can be hard to let go of. It causes a child to develop differently when it comes to fear, anxiety, being in a potentially harmful situation, or dealing with a negative situation. Negativity will actually become a normal feeling that comes from this trauma.
Physical changes can occur in the brain as a result of trauma. There is a part of the brain that processes emotions, memory, and learning. The connections between these areas can be affected when long-term or frequent abuse is present. These kids typically go on to develop anxiety and depression, which leads to substance abuse. Treating anxiety and depression as part of addiction treatment can help someone get clean. This can also help prevent relapse later on down the road. It’s obviously beneficial to get a child psychological help when the trauma has occurred, but many addicts don’t realize they need help until they’re adults and addiction has spun out of control.
Essentially, a dual diagnosis will be present when it comes to addiction and childhood trauma. A more specialized therapy approach will help address the trauma before the addiction. Otherwise, it’s not typically possible to correct addiction when there is a PTSD concern that’s slowing down or preventing recovery. Addiction therapy and treatment will come next, once the trauma has been taken care of. The hope is that the patient will go on to live a healthy and substance-free life, knowing how to properly cope with their negative feelings in the future. These coping mechanisms can benefit all areas of life. If you’re ready to get started with your addiction treatment, call us at 833-610-1174.