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Childhood Trauma Can Be a Cause of Opioid Use Disorder

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Studies over the years have shown a definite correlation childhood trauma and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in adulthood. About two-thirds of children in the United States are exposed to at least one traumatic event by age 16. One-fourth have had at least three.

Naturally, the more types of these events, the more likelihood that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will occur. And PTSD is a known link to OUD.


Some of these instances of trauma can include:


  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect or bullying
  • Mental illness in the household
  • Substance Abuse in the household
  • Split Family
  • Bullying
  • Teen dating violence
  • Peer violence
  • Witness to violence
  • Homelessness
  • Death of a parent
  • Natural disasters
  • Life-threatening illness


The human brain is not completely molded until age 25, so when trauma occurs prior to this, it affects healthy brain development and, in short, makes a person more susceptible to using unhealthy coping mechanisms due to feelings of increased vulnerability, fear and negativity.


Of course, prophylactic psychological treatment during childhood can be one way to head off the effects of PTSD in adulthood – both primary prevention designed to prevent exposure to trauma and secondary prevention designed to promote resiliency among those who have experienced trauma.


For adults with OUD, Opioid recovery facilities now consider PTSD a comorbidity and provide psychiatric and counseling services as part of Medicine Assisted Treatment (MAT). These treatments can include:


For more information regarding mental health and opioid recovery treatment, contact us.


AnnMarie Fauske
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If you’ve been worried about a loved one, or if you’re concerned about the way you use your pain medication, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible for help. To take the first step, contact us online or call 855-993-0960  right away.

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