Drugs and alcohol are frequently used as a coping mechanism for stressful circumstances. While being exposed to trauma does not guarantee that you will develop an addiction, it does raise your chances. This is because trauma has a significant impact on how a person thinks and perceives the world.
Trauma can lead to the development of addiction at any age, but trauma can negatively impact children. They typically lack the communication skills, coping strategies, and understanding to grasp what trauma is and how it impacts them because their brains and bodies are still developing. Some situations that an adult might seem trivial might be upsetting for a youngster if they have no prior experience or grasp of the context.
Sensations of trauma can endure for a long time because people cannot make sense of how the incident has affected them, leading them to seek ways to avoid the feelings associated with it.
Those who acquire an addiction due to attempting to cope with childhood trauma are frequently unaware that they are taking substances for a detrimental reason. Substance misuse is frequently the result of a desire to cope with or silence feelings linked with a stressful situation.
The following are some of the most typical explanations for this link:
Coping With The Pain
Trauma can cause unresolved pain. In many circumstances, someone who has experienced childhood trauma may never have had the opportunity to articulate their feelings or examine the consequences. Drugs and alcohol become a type of self-medication to alleviate pain when a healthy coping mechanism is absent. While it may bring brief respite, it frequently exacerbates symptoms and worsens the cumulative effects of trauma.
Trying to Forget Negative Memories
Trauma might bring up unwanted ideas and memories. Specific persons, places, scents, or items might sometimes bring up an unpleasant memory linked with an event. Because of their tendency to impair functionality, substances can be used to hush those thoughts. Thoughts become suppressed, and it is more difficult to focus while under the influence, allowing those terrible memories to slip away.
An Attempt to Maintain Control
Many people feel victimised and powerless as a result of traumatic experiences. In some ways, substance misuse might feel like a way to reclaim control. It can allow this person to fully express themselves and their own needs however they want.
Trying to Feel Better
Substance addiction can bring euphoria, which is sometimes all a person needs. The release of particular chemicals in the brain that makes a person feel happy is triggered by drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can provide short relief from the pain caused by trauma.
The best way to overcome these feelings of addiction and excessive, self-destructive tendencies is to book in professional help or spend some time in a drug and alcohol rehab center who can help cure the physical problems, putting you into a state of mind to resolve the deeper, underlying issues and trauma.
Trying to Develop Meaningful Relationships
It’s hard to connect and make relationships with others when suffering from trauma because there’s such a lack of a sense of self. Drugs and alcohol can aid in the development of relationships by reducing anxiety and providing a common ground for people to connect on. While this is not a healthy method to build connections, many people regard it as a quick fix.
As you can see, there are many reasons why childhood trauma can lead to substance abuse of any kind, and it’s important to know that this is a very common path people take when dealing with the same things. Whether you’re dealing with it yourself or know someone who is, it’s most important to seek help and do what you can to find healthier alternatives.