Addiction disorders are often traced to a traumatic event before the age of 18 in a person's life. Feelings of lack of control, abandonment, rage, despair, and fear are often cited as reasons addicts "use" their substance of choice.
Criminal Behavior & Incarceration
Over 90% of people in jail have experienced abuse or have an ACE score of "3" or above.
This is where we can see the cycle. Child is abused & comes to believe that she is not valuable and that she can't trust others. Child self-medicates with exposure to addictive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, video games, shopping, etc. Suicidal thoughts, depression & anxiety are worsened by self-medication, which actually functions in her life as self-destruction. This reinforces the belief that she is not valuable. She isolates herself to avoid further pain, but lack of connection increases suicidal thoughts, depression, & anxiety.
In desperation for some relief, she acts out. The goal of acting out is often self-medication or numbing, regardless of consequences.
Both "depression" and "anxiety" can describe a temporary, circumstantial mood.
That's not what I'm talking about. On this website, we mean chronic, debilitating depression and/or anxiety. Your depression or anxiety could be at a clinical level if it interrupts your normal routines, threatens your relationships with others, leads you to addiction or other high-risk, self-destructive behaviors.
Dissociation is a strong sense of disconnection from your thoughts, feelings, memories, surroundings, and/or body.
Dissociation is a coping mechanism to survive the affects of trauma, and exists along a spectrum. At the lowest end of the continuum, dissociation can be daydreaming, deja-vu, or seeing yourself from outside your body. If this coping mechanism doesn't stop when the trauma ends, it can grow and create mental suffering. Serious patterns such as eating disorders, lack of body awareness, and addiction can develop in response to chronic dissociation.
As you can imagine, a life spent avoiding the incredible pain of PTSD -- memories that never stop replaying -- moves toward homelessness. As the ability to maintain healthy adult relationships erodes or prevents abilities to parent, maintain relationship with a partner, and/or the ability to keep a steady job, survivors of abuse tend to isolate. At some point on the continuum, self-medication in the form of addiction is likely. Believe it our not, this mixture is often the most reasonable, rational, response in proportion to the horrors the person endured as a kid. At this point the survivor is in survival mode, even though the abuse has ended.
Experiencing a traumatic event before your brain has developed enough to understand it can throw your life into confusion. In particular, if the traumatic event involved another person with his or her own free will, there can be strong, visceral beliefs that "I'm weak," "Nobody cares for me," "There's no hope," "I'm powerless," "Why am I alive?". Self-hatred is common in those with CPTSD. Unaddressed, these thoughts can balloon into thoughts of "I'd rather be dead" and even a plan.
If you or someone you know seems to be on this path, PLEASE realize that this is a natural & logical response to PTSD. Recognize the early stages of hateful beliefs about self ("I'm useless") and seek therapy and other treatment right away or advise such.