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How Childhood Trauma Can Influence Addiction

Addiction is one of the most harrowing things in the world. It’s not something that always comes out of nowhere, either. The reality is that there’s actually quite a strong tie between past experiences and addictive behavioral patterns. People who have been through traumatic experiences in life are frequently a lot more vulnerable to going down addictive paths. It doesn’t matter if an individual develops an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping or anything else. The root cause may lie in intense trauma that occurred long ago, often during the impressionable childhood years.

The Connection Between Traumatic Early Experiences and Addiction

Early traumatic experiences can be damaging for anyone. Young children can encounter all different kinds of traumatic events. This can range from physical to sexual abuse at the hands of family members or strangers. Either way, the negative results of these forms of abuse can be significant and lasting. That’s how they can pave the way for adulthood addiction issues.

Being around unpleasant scenarios early on can alter the brain of a child. Children have minds that are still en route to coming to fruition. Trauma, however, has the ability to transform chemical operations within the mind. It can even transform the mind’s physical components. These transformations can occasionally bring on cognitive troubles. They can even make people a lot more vulnerable to the mental difficulties of all varieties. Some examples of these are bipolar disorder, depression, and even schizophrenia.

Trauma and How it Influences All Individuals

It isn’t unusual for men who have been through trauma to have rage. Rage is especially typical in men who have been abused sexually. Men sometimes react to their emotions by partaking in behavioral patterns that are violent. Men tend to be more hesitant to get assistance for issues that revolve around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well. This may be associated with their desire to not come across as being mentally weak in any way. It’s not at all atypical for men to deny their traumatic pasts.

Other individuals are a different story as far as early trauma goes. The vast majority of women who receive substance abuse treatment have indicated previously that they’ve been abused physically or sexually. The aforementioned PTSD is a kind of mental condition that’s markedly more typical in females who have at some point gone through sexual assault.

Beyond Childhood Abuse

There’s no disputing that trauma is frequently associated with abuse during the childhood years. Trauma, however, is in no way, shape or form restricted to abuse. There are actually other kinds of events that can trigger frustration and traumatic emotions in young people. Since other events can trigger trauma, they also can contribute to the possibility of severe adulthood addiction woes.

If a child was largely ignored by a parent, then he or she may have processed the situation as being traumatic. Children who have been through the deaths of parents have trauma. The same thing applies to children who have been around all sorts of unsettling situations. If a child was in front of his father hitting his mother, that’s a form of trauma. It isn’t even unheard of for children to take massive moves across the country as trauma. It can be hard to guess what one individual may classify as traumatic. Every individual is different.

Trauma and Age

Trauma isn’t a concept that’s lost on people of different age groups. It’s actually something that can strike regardless of an individual’s specific stage in life. It’s critical to note, however, that traumatic events tend to be particularly intense for kids. Adults tend to be able to deal with trauma better. There may be a number of explanations for that, too. Kids differ from adults in that they have restrictions that relate to viewing what may be the “big picture.” That’s the reason they may not be able to absorb traumatic events as thoroughly. They’re often not equipped with things that are suitable for comparison purposes. That often stops them from grasping the things they’ve been through.

That’s why trauma is generally a much more time-consuming issue for children. Kids tend to have no choice but to depend on their family members in the middle of taxing situations. This can pose a problem for some kids, though. Family members are frequently the individuals who actually bring on the trauma on in the first place. If a child is involved in traumatic scenarios, he or she won’t able to get guidance and counsel from family members.

Attempts to Deal With Abuse

Why exactly do individuals who have encountered abusive situations as children frequently go down paths that aren’t exactly conducive to strong outcomes? People who have had abusive pasts often turn to drug and alcohol dependence as a means of “fixing” their deep and lasting issues. These dangerous coping methods are temporary fixes to their emotional pain. They sometimes think that drugs and alcohol may be able to minimize the gravity linked to their specific situations. Abuse naturally is something that’s extremely hard to swallow for many people.

Trauma is in no way something that just happens on the outside. Physical trauma can be unimaginably difficult. There’s no discounting the gravity of emotional scars, either. So many things can be traumatic to people who are just beginning their journeys in this world. It can be traumatic to go through a vehicle accident on the freeway. It can be traumatic to have to cope with the premature passing of a vital family member. It can even be traumatic to have to go through a divorce that occurs seemingly out of nowhere. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be intense. The added stress of addiction only causes more damage.

Fortunately, recovery is possible. The key to overcoming addiction is to target and treat the underlying cause. Co-occurring disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can be treated by medical professionals while simultaneously treating addiction disorders. For more information, contact us today.