Addiction is often viewed as self-destructive behavior, one that is characterized by a loss of control over substance use. However, addiction can also be seen as a broader concept that includes a range of mechanisms for us to regulate our emotions when we feel helpless and overwhelmed with life and the pain that comes with it.
Addiction should never be seen as a moral failing or character flaw but as a response to unmet emotional needs and unresolved trauma.
Addiction can be seen as a coping mechanism that is developed in response to chronic stress or trauma. Those of us who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, such as neglect, abuse, or parental separation, often turn to drugs, alcohol, social media, and other behaviors as a way of regulating ourselves.
"Brain scans of social media addicts are similar to those of drug-dependent brains: There is a clear change in the regions of the brain that control emotions, attention and decision making. To make things worse, according to TED, the reward centers in our brains are most active when we're talking about ourselves."
What addiction represents is a way of reasserting control over our lives in the face of life stressors that feel overwhelming and uncontrollable. The experience of addiction can provide a sense of agency and autonomy that is usually lacking in other areas of our lives. Trauma-informed care therapist recognizes the importance of addressing the underlying emotional and relational needs hence, providing a safe environment to process those intense experiences in the past is crucial.