The Pain Underneath

There is a connection between past physical, sexual and psychological abuse and the development of addiction and addictive behaviors. In a study of 470 men and women, 81% of women and 69% of men who had a history of abuse and trauma were found to be 59-72% more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviors. Physical trauma at any age but specifically in childhood does generally produce a certain set of long-term emotional, relational, and psychological consequences. Some men and women who are struggling with addiction and addictive behaviors are not aware of the underlying reasons for developing an addiction. What we do know is that alcohol/drugs and addictive behaviors can quiet emotions and thoughts and conceal grief and loss and hurt from the past.

Trauma and the lingering emotional damage are often times managed by engaging in addictive behaviors to survive and to avoid the painful memories of the past. Deeper than any physical reminder or scars from abuse is the emotional damage that is also inflicted. Feelings of worthlessness, despair, anger, depression and anxiety are all potential long-term psychological consequences of physical trauma.

There is tremendous benefit in addressing the pain underneath addiction and addictive behaviors. Healing from the long-term wounds of trauma will not only empower the survivor but it will also lessen the emotional pain. Talking it out versus acting it out will generally lead to less destructive behavior and increase psychological health and wellness. In reducing the emotional pain the man or woman can gain a stronger footing and experience a much better chance of sustained sobriety, healthy connections with people and find peace.

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