It is often said that the events that happen to us as children can have a tremendous impact on us as adults. This can mean something as simple as having to always make sure everything is unplugged before leaving the house to something as serious as dealing with lifelong self-esteem issues.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been proven to have a tremendous impact on violence victimization, lifelong health issues, substance abuse and overall poor life satisfaction as an adult.
Understanding the impact that these adverse childhood experiences have on individuals is vital to finding the right support and treatment for your loved one’s addiction.
Childhood Trauma Acts as a Gateway Drug
An article by the Children’s Mental Health Network (CMHN), discusses how substance abuse is the most common way people learn to tolerate an overwhelming sense of fear and pain.
And, other recent studies have shown that as the number of adverse childhood experiences increases for a person (their ACE score), the odds of them becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs also increases exponentially. This startling research supports the idea that childhood trauma can act as a gateway drug for individuals later in life.
There are ten different types of childhood traumas measured when it comes to a person’s ACE score. Five deal with personal issues, while the other five are focused on close family members. These include:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Parent suffering from an alcohol addiction
- Parent suffering from domestic violence
- Family member in jail
- Family member diagnosed with mental health disorder
- Death or abandonment of a close family member
This supports that trying to treat a substance abuse problem in a bubble is not an option because the traumatic childhood experiences are the underlying issue. In other words, the substance abuse is merely being used as a coping mechanism.
So, what’s the solution?
Seeking Treatment for Co-Occurring Conditions
Struggling with co-occurring conditions or a dual diagnosis disorder is becoming more and more common for individuals seeking rehabilitation. While it’s true that addiction is a disease, it’s not always that simple. When someone is suffering from a mental health disorder, it can contribute to a person’s addiction.
More than 70% of all individuals suffering from a substance use disorder are also dealing with some kind of underlying co-occurring mental health issue.
Some of these other issues can include:
- Adverse childhood experiences
- Bipolar or delusional disorders
When it comes to seeking help for an addiction, it’s important to find a rehab facility that does more than just treat the addiction. Understanding the underlying causes that led to an addiction is just as important as treating the actual symptoms. If only one part of a person’s addictive behaviors is treated, the probability of relapse is high.
Find Support at Spirit Mountain Recovery Center
Spirit Mountain Recovery is perfectly located in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, just north of Salt Lake City. We offer remarkable treatment programs for men seeking rehabilitation for co-occurring conditions.
We make it our goal to help our clients get the rest, nutrition and exercise they need to reorient their life goals and find joy outside of addiction. We customize our treatment plans for each individual client, ensuring they get the best care and support to help them find their path to success.
Contact us today to get answers from an admissions counselor about how we can help.