Trauma and addiction
NOTE: The article I refer to in this post can be accessed with the link below the post.
Let's just say it: I have rarely ever had a client who struggled with addiction who did not also have trauma in childhood. The landmark ACE study demonstrates that very real connection.
ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences, and there are ten specific ones which were studied, covering issues of abuse, neglect, environmental factors, and mental illness/addictions issues in parents. To put it simply, the more ACE's, the more negative outcomes of all kinds later in life, including addiction.
The more we learn about addiction the more we learn the centrality of emotional reinforcement. Opiates were overprescribed, and that's part of the epidemic, but the real tragedy is that these legal prescriptions led a lot of people into addiction through vulnerability caused by ACE's. A great article I will link to below puts it simply: a child with four ACE's is 1600% more likely to become an IV drug user. That's not 1.6 times more likely, that's sixteen times more likely. An example would be a boy whose parents got divorced, who lived with a parent with mental illness and addiction, and who was emotionally abused, for instance called "stupid" or "worthless." That right there is your 1600% increase in IV drug use. Keep in mind that this doesn't include the risk for other types of drug use, only IV drug use. Just think what that statistic might look like if all drugs were included!
The article linked to below addresses the issue in more depth, and is a great source of information because it quotes directly from the ACE study rather than presenting opinions. You will be shocked and surprised. What interested me the most is that the most influential ACE affecting the likelihood of addiction later in life was chronic, recurrent humiliation.
Please read--if addiction has not already touched your family, chances are that it will. Getting therapy for trauma early on can prevent horrible outcomes later in life. Click below.