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Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Opiate Abuse?


Trauma At an Early Age Can Lead to Opiate Addiction

Childhood trauma is far more common than one might think. Traumatic experiences that occur during childhood might consist of a deeply frightening, exceedingly dangerous, or violent event that poses direct harm to the physical and emotional well-being of the child. Children rely on their parents or caretakers for safety and security.

When this sense of safety is disrupted it can leave a lasting negative impact on the child – and related consequences can last well into adulthood. Some children experience trauma despite the best efforts of their parents to protect them and keep them safe. Others experience trauma at the hands of their primary caretaker. Some examples of traumatic events that children might undergo include:

  • Neglect by a parent or caretaker
  • Physical, psychological, or emotional abuse
  • Ongoing community violence
  • The loss of a loved one
  • Experiencing substance abuse in the immediate family
  • Experiencing a serious accident
  • Chronic illness/sustaining a serious injury
  • Natural disasters
  • Family stressors related to the military/deployment

Children who experience repetitive trauma or one significant traumatic event do not have the wherewithal to seek the help they need to overcome this trauma, of course. In most cases, they internalize without fully understanding what is going on. They carry the trauma into adulthood, and they carry the false beliefs about the self they have formulated with it. They might think, “I am undeserving of love,” or, “I am the problem, I did something wrong.” Unresolved trauma leads to a host of serious issues later on in life – one of the most serious and common being substance abuse and dependence.

Childhood Trauma and Opiate Abuse

Childhood trauma significantly impacts the development of the brain. The brain has the innate ability to react to its current circumstances and adapt accordingly – this process is known as plasticity. If a child repeatedly undergoes a series of traumatic experiences – or if he or she experiences a severely traumatizing event – the brain essentially adapts to this trauma. Brain development is stunted and the child (more often than not) suffers from cognitive and behavioral impairments that follow him or her into adulthood. Unresolved trauma impacts the life of the adult in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to the following):

  • He or she will have a more difficult time opening up to people and developing close interpersonal relationships
  • Unresolved childhood trauma often leads to the development of psychological conditions like anxiety and/or depression
  • Many men and women who experience trauma during childhood have a difficult time maintaining a job or career for an extended period
  • He or she is more inclined to abuse chemical substances to alleviate psychological symptoms or attempt to cope with the consequences of unresolved trauma – opiate abuse is extremely common among men and women who have come from traumatic childhoods

Agape Treatment Center – Trauma-Informed Care

At Agape Treatment Center, we offer trauma-informed care as part of our comprehensive recovery curriculum. This essentially means that all of our licensed therapists, psychologists, and addiction counselors are cross-trained to help men and women who have been suffering from unresolved childhood trauma. Because trauma and addiction so frequently go hand-in-hand, every reputable dual diagnosis treatment center will have trauma specialists on staff. In the majority of cases, men and women who are struggling with unresolved childhood trauma remain unaware of the source of the problems they are facing.

Trauma Therapy and Opiate Addiction Treatment

It is our job to ensure that all underlying causes of substance abuse are adequately addressed and thoroughly resolved. In addition to treating childhood trauma, we have extensive experience treating the symptoms associated with opiate abuse and dependence. There is a strong correlation between childhood trauma and opiate abuse, which is why we have developed a dual diagnosis program that tackles everything simultaneously. To learn more about our trauma therapy program and opiate addiction treatment, call us today for more information.

Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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