We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those who have suffered significant and protracted childhood trauma are at higher than average risk of developing an addiction to sex in adulthood (for example, see my post entitled : ‘Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Hypersexuality‘).
Blotting Out Emotional Pain :
One reason why those who have suffered childhood trauma may become addicted
We have seen in previous articles published on this site that, if we have experienced significant childhood trauma, we are at increased risk of becoming addicted to illegal drugs as a result in order to help dull our emotional pain / dissociate from our problems (this is not only because our lives our more likely to be stressful if we have experienced
Addicts, sadly, are too frequently blamed for not being able to overcome their addictions; however, this can be based on the misunderstanding that the addict must be hedonistic. This, though, is to miss the point.
The addict is not so much seeking pleasure but, rather, is desperately seeking relief from intolerable emotional pain (dissociating). In other words, the addict is self – anesthetizing.
Very frequently, the unendurable mental anguish that the addict feels stems from their childhood trauma.
Internal versus external coping mechanisms:
It is necessary for the addict to stop relying on external coping mechanisms (such as alcohol and drugs) to cope with their psychological pain but instead cultivate internal coping mechanisms such as:
I have already written articles on this site about how childhood trauma can lead us to develop a need to DISSOCIATE (click here to read my article on dissociation) and that one of the main ways people attempt to achieve such a psychological defense can lead to alcohol dependence (click here to read my article about the link between childhood trauma and the later development of alcoholism). But how is alcohol dependence defined?
ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE :
There is no precise definition of ‘alcohol dependence’, but it is generally agreed between experts that it usually includes the following features:
– a pattern of daily drinking
– being aware of a compulsion to drink alcohol
– changes in tolerance to the amount of alcohol that can be consumed (in the first stage, tolerance increases,but, eventually, tolerance actually reduces again)
– frequent symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol (commonly
It is not uncommon for alcoholism and borderline personality disorder (BPD) to go hand-in-hand (click here to read my article on the relationship between alcoholism and childhood trauma). Those suffering from both alcoholism and BPD are particularly likely to have problems controlling their impulsivity.
The reason for this is the twin effects of alcoholism and BPD :
– ALCOHOLISM makes it harder for those who suffer from it delay gratification when intoxicated
What Is The Effect Of Alcoholic Parents On Children?
Those who grow up in households in which one or both parents are alcoholic almost invariably have to suffer a living environment that is emotionally chaotic. Indeed, the behavior of alcoholic parents towards their children can be terrifying.
Furthermore, the alcoholic parent may be in denial about his/her condition, as may be his/her spouse. In connection to this, the children who grow up in such a household are expected to keep the matter a secret. The need to keep the situation a secret is extremely stressful for the child ; s/he may need frequently to lie to keep the matter covered up, and, due to this, may constantly worry about slipping up and letting the cat out of the bag.
Very often, too, the child will feel a great deal of shame about his/her family situation. Such shame can lead the child to socially isolate him/herself. Also, in such households, the focus of attention is usually on the alcoholic member, so the child may receive little attention at home.
Overall, then, s/he may find s/he has little emotional support in a situation that greatly warrants such support and in which s/he may well desperately need it. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of
Research suggests that childhood trauma increases the likelihood of future addictions, including gambling. This gambling may become pathological. The types of childhood trauma that were experienced in pathological gamblers include violence, sexual abuse and loss. For instance, Jacobs (2008) conducted research demonstrating that childhood trauma greatly increased the risk of addictions in later life.
It has been hypothesized that gambling helps the individual cope with their childhood trauma