Trauma and the Resulting Issues with Addiction

Addiction is commonly seen as a choice that a person does to him or herself. The individual is thought to be choosing drugs or alcohol over necessities, relationships, and everything that one would deem important and essential. That assumption, unfortunately, is inappropriate to those who are suffering from an addiction as the result of untreated trauma  such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What addiction really constitutes as is a behavioral health issue that stems from a need to fulfill a desire despite the consequences that are present. In short, addiction isn’t just something that has to do with drugs or alcohol. Rather, it’s about a behavior that is harmful to your health.

More Than What Meets the Eye

These behaviors are not solely delegated to the use and abuse of substances, though. Although it is common to think that an addicted person is someone who continuously uses drugs like Heroin, Crystal Meth, Cocaine or sometimes Alcohol, this isn’t necessarily always the case.

Other forms of addiction include:

  • Gambling
  • Love
  • Food
  • Video Gaming
  • Internet
  • Shopping

Although not typically seen as addictive or destructive behavior at times, all of these activities can negatively impact a person’s life if taken too far, and ultimately be destructive.

Where Trauma Comes In

It is becoming increasingly common for people who are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or are struggling with anxiety or stress to turn to things that will make them feel better.

The term “self-medicating” is often used in conjunction with people who suffer from trauma or a form of anxiety disorder, trying to make themselves feel normal again. And although the term is typically used to describe someone using medication or illicit substances, it is also very much in reference to the behaviors listed above.

The thing about addiction is that trauma is often present in individuals who are suffering from it. Trauma creates wounds that aren’t visible to others, but is deeply felt by those who suffer from it. Trauma has a way of clinging onto a person and can last long into adulthood. It can even cause a person to suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and other behavioral issues.

In fact, trauma can often be seen as the root cause of addiction for many addicted people. It typically begins with a form of self-medicating to feel better or be happy due to the lingering effects of a traumatic experience that the individual continuously suffers from.  In fact, he or she may not even remember the experience, but can still suffer from it, without realized how much it has affected their life.

A Far-reaching Scope

The lasting effects of trauma can often times show up in behavior that is outside of the norm one would consider when referencing addiction. This includes behavior such as relying on someone else in order to feel better.

Co-dependence is a form of love addiction, where someone becomes obsessed with somebody, such as a partner, and they rely on them for their mental well-being. Often, these love addicted individuals will jump from relationship to relationship, as they feel the need for someone to constantly be looking over them. The same basic process goes with food or gambling or any other kind of behavior one wouldn’t think is addictive.

As addiction is a behavioral health issue that is most commonly caused by trauma, it is understandable for people to want to make themselves feel better. This wanting to feel better soon becomes a compulsion, though, and it may be something that the person doesn’t even realize.

Going through life with mental and emotional wounds related to trauma can be extremely painful to do, so it is understandable why people would choose a behavior or activity that makes them feel better. Unfortunately, those actions can have the same consequences on the brain and body that substance abuse can, resulting in a dependency or addiction. No matter what it is, whether that be gambling, video games, alcohol or prescription pain pills, addiction is capable of attacking everyone.


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