Excellent article. This is why it’s so important to treat an addict or alcoholic with respect, love and care, and to encourage them to get HELP.
Trauma is not your fault, but healing IS your responsibility.
“Did you know that those who experience something traumatic during their childhood are seven to 10 times more likely to abuse substances?”
“What are the leading causes of addiction? Could it be hereditary? What about peer pressure, poverty, or toxic stress? All of these can play a role, but there is another factor that is known to have a bigger impact.
You may have heard stories of those who have suffered from some sort of trauma ending up abusing drugs or alcohol. This is actually a lot more common than some may think. In fact, 75% of men and women who receive treatment for substance abuse report histories of abuse and trauma.
Physical or sexual violence occurring during childhood, neglect, and veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD are just a few scenarios that most of us have heard of before.
Many have “taken the edge off” after a stressful day of work before, so it makes sense that people who have suffered from some sort of traumatic event use drugs or alcohol to help numb their pain.
Unresolved Traumatic Events from Childhood Can Hinder Long-Term Recovery
Childhood trauma can be so impactful, even years after the abuse or neglect ends, because a child’s brain is still in development. The frequent and high levels of stress that occur while a child experiences something traumatic can impede brain development. Results from multiple studies have proven that this level of stress causes victims of childhood trauma to be more vulnerable to substance abuse in adulthood.
Experiencing physical or sexual violence, neglect, or other forms of abuse can affect anyone at any age. But these traumatic events imprint children differently. It’s much more impactful for children because they rely on their parents or other members of their family that they trust for guidance and protection. If these family members abuse that trust and are the cause of trauma for the child, they no longer have a support system that they desperately need.
Creating this foundation of toxic stress and trauma while a child’s brain is still developing basically wires their brain differently, and makes it much more difficult to grow and function normally as a child, and later on in adulthood.
It makes sense that an adult would feel anxiety, shame, and sorrow after going through something traumatic as a child, right? Survivors of childhood trauma usually need comfort, and sometimes that source of comfort is drugs or alcohol.
Another serious issue you may not be familiar with is how likely it is for veterans to be addicted to anxiety or pain medications, which are normally prescribed for PTSD diagnoses. Veterans can become addicted to medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien. These drugs can offer an escape from the trauma they’re still experiencing in their minds, but is not a healthy way to cope with it. If an addiction has developed along with PTSD, it’s called a dual diagnosis and it’s important to reach out to a professional that treats both the PTSD and the addiction.”