child at window dealing with childhood trauma and addiction

Childhood trauma and addiction often go hand-in-hand. Since children are very vulnerable, experiencing a traumatic event at a young age can do lasting damage that may persist throughout adulthood. Those with childhood trauma have a significantly higher chance of developing mental health disorders and may turn to drugs/alcohol to cope. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, San Antonio Recovery Center’s exclusive trauma therapy program may bring help and relief.

As childhood trauma and substance abuse are related, it is essential to treat both simultaneously. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can greatly reduce the painful withdrawal symptoms, while regular therapy sessions can help the client uncover past trauma, process difficult emotions, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. To know more about our personalized treatment programs, contact us at 866.957.7885.

How Childhood Trauma and Addiction Are Related

Symptoms of undiagnosed childhood trauma may manifest unexpectedly in adulthood. For instance, a childhood spent in fear and anxiety may result in frequent panic attacks, sleeping disorders, or difficulty trusting people. Childhood neglect and abuse might lead a person to choose emotionally avoidant partners, resulting in toxic relationships. To cope with feelings of depression, regret, and frustration, they may find solace in smoking, drugs, or alcohol.

Types of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can be of many types, such as the following:

  • Emotional abuse, such as blackmailing, gaslighting, and passive-aggressive behavior
  • Sexual abuse and assault
  • Physical and verbal abuse, including bullying
  • Violence in the community or household
  • Emotional and physical neglect
  • Death of a loved one, be it a family member, friend, or even a pet
  • Serious illness of a loved one
  • Substance use in the household
  • Surviving a natural disaster or war
  • Instability (as a result of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, starvation, etc.)

Most people will have experienced at least one traumatic event before reaching adulthood. Trauma can disrupt one’s psychological well-being, triggering the body’s “fight or flight” alarm system. Growing up with chronic stress and anxiety can lead to several health disorders as well.

Negative Behaviors That May Lead to Addiction

To cope with the trauma, one might turn to alcohol and other substances as a distraction. However, substance use might make the situation worse by triggering bad memories or putting the person at risk. As the body grows more dependent on the substance to keep up normal functioning, the individual may soon suffer from addiction.

Early warning signs of habits/behavior that lead to addiction include:

  • Drinking alcohol at a young age (before 16)
  • Drinking/smoking in secret
  • Smoking regularly to cope with anxiety
  • Irritability and mood swings when not consuming the substance
  • Insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Depressive episodes, panic attacks, and nervous breakdowns
  • Trying drugs out of peer pressure or curiosity

Treating Childhood Trauma and Substance Abuse Together

A quality facility will treat not just the symptoms of addiction but also the underlying causes behind it. The doctors and therapists will closely work with the client to develop a personalized treatment plan, identifying key issues that need immediate attention and a long-term plan for recovery and growth.
If you seek professional help, here are some things you might expect:

  • Medications to help with the physical and psychological symptoms
  • Individual therapy sessions to process trauma and build healthy habits
  • Group therapy sessions to improve inter-personal bonding
  • Family education and counseling so that loved ones can provide the proper support
  • Holistic therapies and activities to promote calm and relaxation
  • Vital life skills training to resume one’s studies, career, or jobs and repair strained relationships
  • Comprehensive aftercare planning to prevent relapses

Find Hope and Healing at San Antonio Recovery Center

Childhood trauma can lead to lasting feelings of guilt, regret, shame, and loneliness. But it is very much possible to work through past trauma and live happy and successful lives without relying on substances.

No matter how severe the condition, the stellar staff at San Antonio Recovery Center can teach you to break the vicious cycle and build a better life. With a mixture of holistic and evidence-based practices and a special focus on trauma therapy, we equip our clients with all the skills to live a beautiful and sober life.

You deserve love, care, and healing. Call us at 866.957.7885 and change your life today.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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