Trauma and Addiction

Childhood Trauma and its link to addiction….

I have to say I find it shocking that in the last decade these two disorders are just being connected! The two have very tied links as most trauma survivors have a predilection to addiction to say the least. I am not a counselor, but as someone with a family tree full of addicts who can attest to the fact that most of their addictions began after a major trauma, I can say they are linked. But seeing as how my personal journey has involved childhood trauma I would like to focus there.

Early traumas affect the ways adults process and deal with stress. Abuse affects the same areas in the prefrontal cortex that provide the want for addicts to use. This part of the brain is greatly developed by your environment. The negative disruptions from continuous stress on a child, over time, can cause disruption in the development of the brain instead of growing properly. These misgrowths leave us vulnerable to a substance use disorder. It’s important to remember that children are limited in their ability to make contextual inferences that would likely allow them to process these experiences more effectively.

From personal experience, I can tell you, as a child I could not process or understand what was happening to me or why. I could not process it so I medicated myself with drugs and alcohol to just be ok with the things that had taken place. As of now, I am almost 40 and just beginning to understand after nearly 7 years of sobriety, how the 2 were intertwined. I should have sought help long ago for both issues. Not that it sincerely matters when you decide to make these changes, to reopen Pandora’s box and allow all these dark images, memories, and feelings to surge through you finally, it just matters that you do. And please don’t feel as if it’s too much. There are so many more of us out there who have done this, who are doing these things to rid themselves of the demons left behind.