Seen & Heard: Trauma is the Real Gateway Drug

I recently posted the quote above on my Facebook page. I think the first place I read that was in a longer quote from Russell Brand.

His quote says this:

It’s so true, isn’t it? Addiction to drugs or alcohol is often a symptom of something much bigger. Something that nearly always has its roots in some sort of trauma. I know it’s that way for many of the people I know who are in recovery and for me.

And we aren’t the only ones. Research shows that there is a strong connection between trauma and substance abuse. Unfortunately, many of us turn to drugs or alcohol to help us cope with the emotional pain, insomnia, negative memories, anxiety, guilt, shame, and other symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As many as 75% of people who have experienced violent or abusive traumatic events report problem drinking, and those of us diagnosed with PTSD are 14 times more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder.

I think it’s important for people to understand that we don’t set out with a plan to be alcoholics or drug addicts. Sometimes circumstances out of our control contribute to our substance abuse issues. I’m not making excuses for my addiction and the bad behavior that resulted – I take full responsibility for my actions and have made amends for them where possible. I am saying that while there isn’t an excuse for addiction, there is often an explanation to be found when we look for it.

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