A psychodynamic exploration of the link between childhood trauma and later addiction

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Murray, Rachel
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Addiction or substance use disorder is prevalent both nationally and globally and has been throughout history and across cultures. There are numerous theories of addiction including the moral theory, disease theory, genetic theory and psychological theory, along with many others. This essay explores the connection between childhood trauma and later addictions from a psychodynamic perspective and seeks to understand the importance of the link for the psychotherapeutic practitioner. Addiction is discussed in conjunction with certain psychoanalytic ideas, complex post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress disorders, attachment theory, the Adverse Childhood Experience study and early developmental processes. The link between childhood trauma and addiction is discussed as having a significant place for the therapist especially in finding the most effective and healing therapeutic path for a client.