Addiction is one of the most serious problems today and needs to be addressed when the first signs of addiction are recognized. In many instances, drug and alcohol addiction can rear its head as early as childhood. Before you begin the process of addiction treatment, it is important to understand the connection between childhood trauma and addiction.
What Is Adverse Childhood Experience?
Adverse childhood experience (ACE) refers to any form of trauma that a person goes through before they reach 18. These events can include:
- Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
- Witnessing domestic violence
- Experiencing abandonment
- Emotional and physical neglect
- Having a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
These are just some of the experiences used to calculate one’s ACE score, which is a tally of the kinds of abuse one goes through during their childhood. A higher score signals a more difficult childhood. Addiction usually occurs in people with higher scores. ACE also includes racism, bullying, experiencing homelessness, and surviving a serious accident.
Trauma Affects the Brain
As one matures, they learn to absorb new information and change to keep up with their environment. However, trauma blocks this process. Trauma influences young people’s brains to adapt to a negative environment, causing them to live in fear and get used to the harmful behavior of those around them. Therefore, negativity becomes normal for someone in this situation.
There are also physical changes in the brains of children who have dealt with trauma, as the section of the brain responsible for regulating and processing emotion changes in size. Learning and memory can also be adversely affected, as well as the frequency of brain connections.
So, what does this do to a child in their later life? They become more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and therefore, have a higher risk of developing substance abuse.
Childhood Trauma and Addiction Are Linked
Many people may experience a dual diagnosis. This means that they suffer from a form of substance abuse and mental illness. This outcome is why it’s vital to understand how childhood trauma and addiction are linked. Knowing when someone has experienced trauma in their childhood is extremely important since you can identify them as someone who has a higher risk for dual diagnosis. This will allow them to take preventative measures. This knowledge can also be useful in the treatment process.
What Does This Mean for Those Dealing with Addiction?
Not everyone starts out experimenting with different substances for the same reasons. For some, it may have developed over time due to stress. For others, it may be because they felt pressured by their friends.
Whatever the reasons for substance abuse, it is vital to understand that for a lot of people, childhood trauma and addiction are connected. The suggested treatment plan for dual diagnosis needs to include coaching, residential rehabilitation programs, therapy, counseling, and other types of support. While substance abuse may result from a combination of factors, trauma undeniably plays a significant role in someone’s struggle with drug or alcohol dependency. Long-term recovery is also dependent on learning new coping mechanisms and having a strong support system.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help at Las Vegas Recovery Center
The link between childhood trauma and addiction runs deeper than you think. There is no denying the effects of childhood trauma on children are worse because it can impinge on their emotional and psychological development. If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, seek treatment as soon as possible. Las Vegas Recovery Center has a dedicated team of professionals to give you the level of care you need. Call Las Vegas Recovery Center today at 844.332.2076 for more information on how we can help.