Emotional Trauma - A Common Root of Addiction


Albeit frequently neglected, emotional trauma often lies at the heart of a person’s addiction. Our recognition of trauma as a main driver of addiction isn't new. Since the 1970s, treatment professionals have known about the part trauma plays in the advancement of substance abuse disorders and relapse.


Be that as it may, as of late, there has been a welcomed resurgence in mindfulness and treatment of trauma as a co-occurring disorder.


The Links Between Addiction and Trauma

A recent study distributed in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research confirmed what large numbers of us in the treatment field have seen time and time again: A background marked by childhood neglect or physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment is common among individuals experiencing treatment for alcoholism and may be a variable in the advancement of alcohol abuse disorders.


Abuse was additionally connected to an increased risk of mental disorders, depression and suicide.


Though the overall public has physical abuse rates of 8.4 percent in the United States, the rate for alcoholics has been accounted for at 24 percent for males and 33 percent for females. The rate of sexual abuse in the all inclusive community drifts around 6 percent, while the rate for alcoholics has been accounted for at 12 percent for males and 49 percent for females. Rates of childhood psychological mistreatment and neglect, which are frequently under-reported because children are not always able to report the abuse to a trusted adult, are likely as pervasive among alcoholics as physical and sexual abuse and have comparable consequences, including higher rates of depression, nervousness, suicide and behavioral issues later in life.


This study certainly adds to the already expansive amounts of research & development connecting addiction and emotional trauma. An investigation of children who attended school close Ground Zero in New York found that the more trauma-related variables they encountered afterwards, (for example, having somebody they care about pass away), the more probable they were to abuse drugs and alcohol down the road. What's more, the connection wasn't inconspicuous: Children with three or more specified elements were 19 times more prone to increase their use of alcohol or drugs as teens or adults.


Emotional trauma has been connected to drug abuse as well as overeating, compulsive sexual conduct and other addictions. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study, which depends on information from more than 17,000 Kaiser Permanente patients, discovered correlations between serious childhood stress (e.g., neglect, abuse, death of a parent, domestic violence, or having a parent with an addiction or mental illness) and various addictions.


Once more, the outcomes left little room for disagreement: A child with four or more antagonistic childhood encounters is five times more inclined to become an alcoholic and 60 percent more prone to struggle with weight issues, and a child with four or greater of these encounters is 46 times more inclined to become an addict than other children.


How Do We Define Emotional Trauma?

Larke Huang, chief of the Office of Behavioral Healthcare Equity at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, characterizes trauma as a stressful event that "causes physical or emotional harm from which you cannot remove yourself." Emotional trauma is subjective, which means what makes a difference most are the individual's inner convictions and their inherent affectability to stress, not whether a relative, counselor or other professional regards an ordeal to be traumatic.

Emotional trauma can come from abuse or neglect and also other life encounters, for example, an auto accident, harassment, violence at school, sudden life changes or death of family members, or even a near-death experience. It can likewise come about because of experiencing alcohol abuse or addiction during one’s childhood. As a result of the trauma, the individual feels extraordinary apprehension or defenselessness, which can prompt long battles with depression, addiction or high risk behaviors.


An Unhealthy Attempt to Meet Emotional Needs

Emotional trauma has an even worse effect when it happens in one’s childhood. Children don't have any sort of frame of reference to put traumatic encounters in context or to even try to process them mentally. Their essential outlet for support is the family, which is regularly the root of the trauma in instances of neglect or abuse. Therefore, children adjust to getting their emotional needs met in unhealthy ways.

Sometimes, addiction happens in the trauma survivor's life because they tried to self-sedate. Instead of working through, thinking about or remembering the occasion, the individual may turn to drugs, alcohol, or different substances or practices to numb the painful emotions.


Drugs have a way of convincing trauma survivors that it is filling a void. For example, it may give them the opportunity to disconnect from their emotions or lessen stress that they feel is unbearable. They may look to drugs to numb torturous feelings that cause them pain or conversely they may use them to feel "alive", depending on the drug of choice.


Dual Recovery for Dual Disorders

Whatever reason drugs serve for the trauma survivor, what started as one issue (trauma) becomes complicated by a second major issue (addiction), and until trying to cope in and of itself becomes so problematic, he or she will spiral downward until professional trauma focused addiction treatment plans are the only option to overcome them.


Regularly, patients are not fully aware that they are abusing drugs as a way to cope with past trauma. They may have almost no recollection of traumatic encounters and get well into their adulthood before they start having a problem. The individuals who enter drug recovery may get stuck in a cycle of constant relapse or quit abusing drugs just to then transfer the problem and experience an eating disorder, addiction to sex or participate in self-harming behaviors. This will continue to happen until the underlying issues are addressed and treated.


To avoid further substance abuse and continued relapse, it is up to treatment professionals to recognize the common problem of trauma among addiction sufferers, routinely screen for signs of trauma, and administer complete, multidisciplinary addiction treatment plans that have demonstrated success in treating dual diagnosis issues.


Seeking Treatment

The important thing in all of this is that you seek help for your drug addiction. Do not let fear keep you from the life you have always wanted. You do not need to fight this disease alone and any and all concerns that you have can be addressed as you move through the process of recovery. So call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today, at 1-866-771-7091. We are standing by to help you finally overcome your addiction.


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