Addiction currently affects millions of people across the country. While those battling substance abuse are often met with stigma from the rest of society, studies have shown that addiction among adults can be tied to childhood abuse and trauma. This post aims to dive into this phenomenon, looking at the link between childhood trauma and addiction and highlighting the trauma therapy program we offer at Blueprint Recovery Center.
What Is Childhood Trauma?
Childhood trauma is a result of emotionally or physically harmful events. These experiences often have long-term adverse effects. Those with severe adverse experiences could be easily driven towards substance abuse. Often, these adverse experiences include:
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- Bullying or school violence
- Grief resulting from the untimely death of a loved one
- Witnessing violence or war
- Being involved in major accidents
How Are Trauma and Addiction Linked?
A developing brain quickly absorbs new information, experiencing rapid growth as it matures. Like how a child readily adapts to a positive environment, so do they readily adapt to a negative one. Their ability to quickly absorb information could be harmful if they are exposed to traumatic events. Such events have been shown to alter the brain physically.
Some of these physical alterations include changes to sizes of the corpus callosum and cingulum-hippocampus, which are responsible for regulating and processing emotions. Prolonged exposure to trauma stresses the brain even more, which affects mental health even further. These effects can still be felt even when the child reaches adulthood. Poor mental health could develop into depression and anxiety, with many developing an affinity towards substance abuse.
Childhood Trauma And Addiction In Adults
Once a child is exposed to traumatic experiences, their normal growth is interrupted. This forces them to adapt to an alternate reality. In response to such experiences, a child could begin using external factors to soothe their fears. As they grow, they are more aware of their pain and start to look for new ways to cope with the negative emotions brought about by early trauma. These external factors often end up being drugs and alcohol that are used as an unhealthy response to the natural needs for relief and comfort.
A common form of childhood trauma that can directly lead to addiction is domestic abuse, with studies showing that witnessing domestic violence can result in an onset of chemical dependency. Past emotional trauma can also be the reason for present substance abuse. For instance, a parent who abuses drugs is more likely to neglect or harm their child, often leading to the child perpetuating the cycle and using substances later in life.
Trauma resulting from childhood physical abuse could also lead to addiction in adults. There are various levels of physical harm that can lead to substance abuse later in life. This could range from one-time acute assault to prolonged physical abuse faced at school and home.
Treatment for Trauma and Addiction at Blueprint Recovery
Today, treatment has been made more effective by also addressing underlying issues. Thanks to trauma therapy, those with past childhood traumas can finally come to terms with those painful experiences. A therapist will help you safely explore past trauma, showing the link between your trauma and addiction. Other treatment options include:
- Family therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Men’s rehab center
- Women’s rehab center
- Intensive outpatient program
- Partial hospitalization program
At Blueprint Recovery Center, we have a team of care providers that will work with you, helping you design the blueprints that would allow you to begin building a healthy and positive future. We understand that trauma and addiction are connected. Our trauma-focused therapy employs a holistic approach that caters to every aspect of your recovery. Your past should not hinder your future. Talk to Blueprint Recovery Center today at 833.654.1004 and get the help you need.