Trauma and Addiction
Trauma Paves the Path for Addiction
Experiences during early life are a major factor in determining how the child will cope with situations as they grow older. For example, a child raised in a nurturing and calm environment will often cope well when placed in a variety of situations during life’s course. On the other hand, a childhood full of trauma, abuse, and stress will cause the child to not be able to cope in many situations.1 Many times, childhood trauma leads the person to turn towards drug abuse in order to help them cope with their emotions and experiences. Trauma can include early family deaths, an absence of parenting, growing up in a home with domestic violence, and child abuse.1 One study researched children who attended the ten nearest middle and high schools to the twin towers when 9/11 occurred. The greater the numbers of trauma the children experienced, the more they tended to increase their use of alcohol and drugs in the following years.1 It was found that teens who experienced trauma were five times as likely to increase their use of alcohol and drugs than were teens who did not experience a trauma.1 The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, which includes 17,000 children in California’s Kaiser Permanente Insurance Program revealed interesting results: a child with six or more ACEs is three times more likely than a child with zero to become a smoker; a child with four or more ACEs is five times more likely to become an alcoholic; and a boy with four or more ACEs is 46 times more likely to become an IV drug user. The link between trauma and addiction cannot be denied.
Coping with Trauma through Addiction
It is argued that people who use drugs, stemming from traumatic situations, are not using them to create a problem, but to fix one. In other words, it is a coping mechanism. In order to reach sobriety, they need a strong support group, which they often do not have at home. Therefore, 12-step programs, other support groups, and family members or friends that are willing to get on board are extremely important. Those close to us help us cope with stress and are very important to leading a healthy life. Treatment facilities often help patients suffering from trauma and addiction to set up a strong support group as part of their treatment plan. For once the addiction ends, the patient would be left to deal with traumatic memories. Therefore, it is important for the treatment facility to integrate trauma therapy into addiction therapy so that both issues are being dealt with simultaneously, as they often fuel each other. In order for drug abuse to stop, the trauma needs to be healed, and in order for the trauma to be healed, the drug addiction needs to stop. A residential treatment facility is extremely helpful for persons dealing with trauma and addiction, as it gives them the time and the resources to fully heal before returning to their everyday lives as a new, sober person who is at peace with their inner selves.
We can help you heal from your trauma and addiction.