Self-Medication and Trauma
The Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACE) offered compelling evidence to show a strong link between traumatic events in childhood and a substance use disorder. Researchers found that the more traumatic events people experienced in their childhood (loss of a parent, abuse, neglect), the more likely they were to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Researchers concluded that substances are used to deal with difficult emotions and conditions that might stem from that trauma, including depression, anxiety or related emotions. Unfortunately, use of substances, which may seem helpful in the beginning, usually causes more problems than the individual was dealing with in the first place.