Trauma and Addiction
Almost everyone has experienced some sort of trauma in life. While some individuals can recover quickly and easily from trauma, when trauma is particularly significant or when there is not support for the traumatized individual, trauma can lead to addiction. In fact, people who have experienced high amounts of trauma are at an increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
A recent study titled, The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) examined 17,000 people in California who reported severe trauma. The results of the study found a correlation between severe childhood stress and several types addictions. The study addressed several adverse childhood experiences, including:
- Abuse (emotional, physical and sexual)
- Having a parent who was incarcerated
- Living in a house with domestic violence
- Having an addicted or mentally ill parent
- Losing a parent to death or divorce
The study found that the higher the amount of adverse experiences, the more likely the child will develop an addiction.
When trauma is left untreated, individuals may turn to poor behavior to numb their feelings or make the hurt, shame, or fear go away. This avoidance of treatment can lead to many difference types of addictions including gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex and food. Research shows that trauma and addiction go together and until you recover from one, you can’t completely face and recover from the other