Several studies reveal that there is a link between childhood trauma and substance use. Unfortunately, childhood trauma can impact your life into adulthood, resulting in substance use disorders. If you’ve battled childhood trauma and now have an addiction, you’re not alone. Millions of teens and children have experienced these events. At Foothills at Red Oak, we’re proud to provide addiction and trauma treatment for teens. Contact our North Carolina adolescent treatment center today at 866.300.5275 to learn more about your treatment options.
What Is Trauma?
While neglect and abuse are significant causes of trauma, other experiences can cause severe long-term consequences, including car accidents, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters.
Trauma can affect young people throughout their lives, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Various studies have established a link between childhood trauma, mental disorders, and substance abuse that can continue into adulthood.
Drug dependency can occur in different forms, primarily due to traumatic experiences. Substance abusers cite various reasons, including using drugs or alcohol for social acceptance, escaping day-to-day realities, and coping with painful memories.
Symptoms of Trauma
Trauma can affect each teen differently, depending on the child’s age when they experienced the trauma, how long ago the traumatic event occurred, what type of trauma they experienced, and a range of other factors. Therefore, the symptoms of trauma can differ drastically for each person. However, some symptoms and signs can help you, as a parent, recognize trauma in your child.
For instance, a few signs of trauma include:
- Poor self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness or despair
- Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
- Loss of a sense of purpose or meaning to live
- Obsessive worries or worries of an unwanted nature
- Night terrors, nightmares, or flashbacks
- An inability to make decisions, organize, or plan
These symptoms are not all-encompassing. If you suspect a teen that you love has experienced a traumatic event, it’s imperative to speak to a mental health professional. They can provide psychological testing and suggest effective treatment options.
Domestic Abuse and Addiction
Domestic abuse can cause children to experience trauma during their growth and development years. Traumatic experiences may happen due to direct violation of human rights or when you witness the cruelty and maltreatment of a close family member. Domestic abuse can lead to emotional distress in children, contributing to drug and alcohol dependence.
According to a survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 70% of adolescents undergoing substance addiction treatment admit to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse during childhood. There is a range of ways that abuse can affect children and teens.
Emotional Abuse and Addiction
Psychologists use the term emotional abuse to describe a wide range of behaviors, including child neglect, intentional manipulation, verbal abuse, and extreme punishment.
For example, some parents with irresponsible behavior may expose their children to early alcohol use. Children with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol are also at a higher risk of neglect.
Physical Abuse and Addiction
It is common for children to experience physical abuse at some point in life, whether it is persistent bullying or an assault. For example, data from the American Society for Positive Care of Children (American SPCC) shows that an estimated 18% of maltreated children are physically abused, with half of them dying from such experiences.
Various forms of physical abuse to children can affect them, leading to a higher risk of substance abuse in adulthood.
Sexual Abuse and Addiction
Sexual abuse can be traumatic for any child. The situation is critical because the US government reports tens of thousands of sexual abuse cases every year. The experience can affect different aspects of a victim’s life, even in adulthood.
Research shows that people who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood may experience issues like teenage pregnancies, unsafe sex, and substance abuse.
Overcome Childhood Trauma and Substance Use at Foothills
Examining the underlying factors is vital in recommending the right personalized treatment. Therefore, as a victim of substance dependence and mental health problems, you should visit a rehab facility for a combination of treatment services, such as:
- Trauma treatment program
- Co-occurring issues treatment
- Substance abuse treatment
- Alcohol addiction treatment program
- Drug addiction treatment program
If your childhood trauma has led to substance abuse, you should remember that you’re certainly not alone. Many children in the US experience exposure to abuse, crime, and violence. However, these conditions do not have to take over your life anymore. If your trauma and substance abuse has manifested your teen’s life and impacted it in many areas, you need personalized treatment. Reach out to the Foothills at Red Oak. Contact us today at 866.300.5275 to speak to our experts.