Addiction is a wide-spread, harmful condition that can severely disrupt anyone’s life. There are people that think the root causes of addiction are different for each person. However, there is a similar root cause for addictions in most, if not all, people. A vast majority of the time, people who develop an addiction have some sort of trauma that affects their daily life. Instead of finding a way to work through their trauma, the individual decided to search for a quick escape, which caused them to develop an addiction.
Why Addiction Is Based In Trauma
According to Gabor Maté, any substance of abuse is really a painkiller. Even if the substance isn’t designed to be a painkiller, the person taking it is using the substance to ease their physical or emotional pains. That’s partially due to how pain responses in the human brain work. It’s also, in part, due to how our society deals with relief and satisfaction.
When someone experiences physical or emotional pain, the same part of their brain will be affected. That’s because our brains aren’t designed to separate those types of traumas. Someone who’s been emotionally abused in the past or present will have the same pain responses as someone who’s been physically abused.
Any pains and trauma can be hard to deal with, especially in the quick gratification society we live in. Our society doesn’t encourage people to live with their own pains and deal with them the right way. Instead, people look for a quick way to cover up their pain and trauma. That’s what leads people to substances of abuse and then addiction.
Maté says that most of the people he works with who have an addiction have experienced some kind of trauma or emotional loss. Most, if not all, severe addicts have gone through some kind of intense pain or trauma. Even people with lesser pains can develop an addiction though. Anyone with any type of addiction, including shopping and work addictions, is using it to cover up the pain they’re living with on a daily basis.
How To Recover From Trauma And Addiction
People who want to recover from their trauma and addiction need to live fully with their pain in the present moment.
Maté states that “the attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain”. People with an addiction are experiencing that cycle. Instead of facing their pain, people with addictions are running away from it through their substance abuse, and that’s creating more pain in their lives.
In order to break out of that cycle, people need to have compassion from others. People can’t fully deal with their pain and trauma alone. They need the support of other people in order to experience their pain and not run away. Eventually, the compassion from others will help people understand their own pain. It can also allow them to develop healthy ways to cope, which can lead them to a life away from their addiction.