Research into the psychological causes of drug abuse has found that addiction can develop from childhood trauma. Substance abuse often results from negative experiences in childhood. However, this is not the only cause of substance abuse. Anyone can become addicted at any age to any type of drugs, whether they are illicit drugs or prescription drugs, for a wide number of reasons. Drug addiction remains a complicated issue, and research psychologists have a lot to learn about how susceptibility to drugs works.
With that being said, the circumstances and experiences you had as a child could have had a significant impact on your development as an adult. As a result, extremely negative experiences during childhood could delay your psychological or social development. Since trauma during childhood can lead to an intense desire to numb out your feelings with drugs as an adult experiencing a stressful life, it’s reasonable to assume that chronic childhood trauma has a significant impact on your addictive behavior.
Childhood Trauma and Brain Development
Traumatic childhood experiences can significantly change the activity of your brain. Childhood trauma can alter the way your chemicals and hormones interact, and this, in turn, could also affect your brain’s ability to control emotions, regulate stress, and control impulses. If you have gone through most of your life suffering from chronic mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety disorder, then it’s highly probable that you developed maladaptive behaviors arising from childhood experiences to try to deal with your current problems.
In other words, if you have had a history of childhood trauma, you are more likely to suffer from substance abuse addiction and other mental health disorders than someone who had a normal childhood. Trauma experienced during your childhood can be a significant predictor of addiction. Trauma affects not only your brain’s development but also how it functions. Because of frightening experiences in your childhood, for example, you might perceive different situations as more threatening or rewarding than they actually are.
The Effect of Childhood Trauma on Maturing into Adulthood
Trauma experienced in childhood can have lifelong consequences such as depression and anxiety, which in turn can lead to immature and reckless behavior in adulthood. Childhood traumas can affect people in many ways. Some are obvious from childhood, while others only become apparent when a person is older and has not matured into a responsible adult. Childhood trauma, for example, can result in difficulties with forming relationships, difficulties with self-care, higher levels of anxiety and depression over minor incidents in life, and substance abuse.
Many different types of childhood traumas can contribute to substance abuse, impulse control disorders, and other mental health issues. For instance, child abuse, neglect, losing a parent, or witnessing domestic physical violence can all have devastating effects on someone’s mental health. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances can alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of purpose, even if only for a brief time.
How Do Therapists Deal with Childhood Trauma in Drug Rehab?
According to the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, individuals who have experienced any kind of overwhelming or bewildering childhood trauma are more likely to experience drug use and addiction as young adults. In the United States, many people who have suffered childhood trauma, including abuse, neglect, and tragedy, use drugs to escape their negative thoughts and feelings about the past. In drug rehab, patients with severe cases of childhood trauma often struggle with self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
In a rehab center, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used to help patients cope with the memories of their difficult childhoods and develop positive coping skills. Additionally, medication can also be used as a short-term solution to stop or reduce the symptoms associated with childhood trauma, such as chronic depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. Patients may benefit from individual therapy, group therapy, or animal-assisted therapy. Each of these therapies deals with trauma differently. Child abuse victims also benefit greatly from support groups. These groups give them the opportunity to receive encouragement from role models, people who have been through similar situations but managed to develop effective strategies for putting their past behind them and getting on with the task of building their lives.
It is difficult to overcome substance abuse, whether it arises from childhood trauma or from some traumatic experience one has had as an adult. Many people who have experienced traumatic events have been trapped in a spiral of addiction that only gets worse without any intervention. However, there are resources available to help people who suffer from addiction find the help they need. Give us a call at 833-846-5669 so we can help you get started on your recovery journey.