Child abuse being a prime cause of the growing problem with opioid addiction didn’t surprise me, but the connection between emotional abuse more so than physical or sexual abuse did. On the other hand, there’s something to this idea:
“If a person is being physically or sexually abused, it’s easier to put the blame on the person doing the abuse,” Matthew Price, assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Science at the University of Vermont, said in a press release. “With emotional abuse, the abuser is saying ‘You are the problem.’ Being called names, being told you’re not good enough, being told no one cares about you undermines your ability to cope with difficult emotions. To protect themselves from strong emotions and from trauma cues that can bring on PTSD symptoms, people with this kind of childhood experience frequently adopt a strategy of avoidance, which can include opioid use.”
As the article goes on to talk about, treating someone for addiction and not addressing the underlying emotional abuse and neglect through therapy is not likely to offer much help. We need to get people the help that then need to overcome their emotional abuses, then they can have the tools and skills they need to overcome the addiction.
For more on this topic, also check out this post by David Kolker where he talks about current addiction treatments and how many people it is not helping to get better:
Treatment needs to focus on problems such as abandonment, abuse, neglect, fear and lack of self-love. These are the issues that create a perfect storm for an individual to continue acting out through addictive behavior and substances. Without addressing these issues, sobriety is non-existent, regardless of whether an individual works 12-steps or not.