The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Addiction
Childhood trauma not only damages the child but the adult the child will become. Sometimes the aftermath of extreme childhood trauma can surface later in adult life in the form of addiction and substance abuse. Many of those suffering from substance use disorders are victims of abuse.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reports cases of child sexual abuse every 8 minutes, while another study states that 1 in 4 children are victims of some form of child abuse in their lifetime. The addiction is the effect; the cause was the trauma. For some drug rehab programs may offer insight into the deep-rooted causes of substance abuse going back years.
PTSD and Childhood Trauma
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is incredibly common in those who have suffered childhood trauma and causes the fear of the trauma to continue long after the event has concluded. Throughout the years of growing up, a child can learn to cope with and mask the persistent effects of the trauma, which can make the condition harder to identify and treat properly. This can enhance feelings of disconnection, anger, pain, insomnia, and many other issues that can make self-medication through substance abuse seem like a desirable action. In reality, today’s drug addict may be yesterday’s child trauma victim.
The Connection Between PTSD and Substance Abuse
PTSD is one of the mental health conditions that lends itself to co-occurring disorders, meaning a mental health disorder in conjunction with substance abuse. Studies have shown that 96.5 percent of people who suffer from substance abuse disorders have suffered from trauma in their lifetime.
An adult seeking addiction treatment could very well be a former abused child needing therapy for PTSD. This is why a dual diagnosis or co-occurring treatment center is so important. Not only is addiction being addressed, but the root of where the addiction comes from can be handled with counseling, support groups and therapy. Understanding that many of the driving influences of the addiction come from PTSD will help you learn how to cope without turning to substances. There are drug rehab facilities ready and able to assist with dual diagnosis treatment of the deep-rooted causes of addiction. Many years of trauma do not mean you cannot have a sober and bright future. With the right program and an understanding of the trauma that started it all, a new life can grow.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.