Many people believe that genetics decides who becomes an addict. While genetics do play a role in how quickly a person can become addicted, more and more studies are proving that addiction is a direct result of trauma in a person’s life, most commonly childhood trauma. Though not all people who suffer through a traumatic event will develop an addiction, researchers believe that trauma is an underlying cause of addiction.
Substance abuse is used as a coping mechanism for those who have experienced trauma. Drugs and alcohol help people feel numb, empowered, calm, or relaxed, which many people have a hard time feeling while sober. An estimated 25 to 75% of people who survive abuse or trauma develop alcohol abuse issues, and accidents, illness, or natural disasters are associated with 10 to 33% of survivors reporting alcohol abuse.
Childhood trauma affects the brain. Compromising neural structure and function, it can leave a person susceptible to cognitive problems and psychiatric illnesses later in life – including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and substance abuse and addiction. Most commonly, this trauma that causes addiction is related to a relationship with another person. Common forms of trauma include neglect, physical or emotional abuse, incest, having a mentally ill or addicted parent, losing a parent to death or divorce, living in a home with domestic violence or having an incarcerated parent.
Many loved ones of addicts find that the way to treat addiction successfully is through social support. Empathy, compassion, and support from programs or friends and family helps addicts find comfort and safety in those around them rather than drugs or alcohol.
Free by the Sea offers inpatient residential treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction. To speak with our dedicated and compassionate staff, contact us now. We help addicts identify trauma in their lives and overcome their need to treat it with drugs or alcohol. Find out more about program options from Free by the Sea today.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.