Statement of the Problem
According to the National Child Traumatic Stress network, a person will begin using drugs and alcohol after experiencing a trauma up to 76% of the time. Furthermore, up to 59% of young people with PTSD subsequently develop substance abuse problems; and an even stronger among young girls (Lamya Khoury, 2010).
As a child of an alcoholic, I was riddled with symptoms of post-traumatic stress as witness to my father’s emotional and physical abuse towards my three older siblings. Regardless of my emotional and spiritual growth, unpleasant childhood flashbacks, anger, and resentment towards my father existed. As a result, I continued to relive my childhood by choosing co-dependent, delusional, addictive relationships detrimental to the quality of my life.
It wasn’t until I wrote my memoir, “What You Feel is Real,” when I became aware of emotional-etheric toxins releasing from my body. Upon completion of this memoir, the deep pain in my heart subsided and I no longer suffered from bouts of depression. From this point on, I was aware there had to be more advanced methods for healing and wellness beyond traditional talk therapy, 12-step meetings or taking antidepressants. Therefore, it is for this very reason, I have taken my work into the field of Energy Medicine for the relief of post-traumatic stress for early intervention in young people vulnerable to co-occurring addiction and illness.
Causes for Trauma and Vulnerability to Co-Occurring Addiction & Illness
According to the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic, 2018), the most common contributing factors leading up to the development of PTSD include: combat exposure, childhood physical abuse, sexual violence, physical assault, being threatened with a weapon, and an accident. Other traumatic events leading to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life- threatening events. The Mayo Clinic further reports that having PTSD may also increase your risk of other mental health problems such as: depression and anxiety, issues with drugs or alcohol use, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and actions (Mayo Clinic, 2018).
In addition to coping with post-trauma, it is my observation that when young people go through rapid mental and physical growth and hormonal changes the fear of not knowing who they are rises up and feels as if the ground has been pulled out beneath them. As a result, such fears can lead to panic attacks and depression. When these changes are coupled with adverse childhood experiences, a journey through puberty is far more intense than what an average young person expects to manage. Furthermore, studies consistently show that the accumulation of adverse childhood experiences increases the risk of poor adult health (Mariette J. Charltlier, 2010).
I also have noticed a great number of young people suffering from PTSD who are highly sensitive and intuitively gifted. In other words, PTSD in the body has developed high-alert survival-tactics and traits especially among those who come from abusive family environments similar to living in a war-zone atmosphere. In our society, the highly sensitive, intuitively gifted are rarely validated, nurtured, or educated to know what to do with their gifts, therefore, this group has a tendency to believe there is something terribly wrong with them; they don’t fit in; they are different; or they feel as if they are not enough.
Another observation related to trauma with vulnerability to co-occurring addiction/illness in young people is social media and the undue emotional stress it can cause at a public level, not to mention, the medium is highly addictive, in and of itself. More often than not, social scenes created on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat force young people to conform or be bullied based lies and falsehoods causing trauma at a low level of public shame and embarrassment from being ridiculed or scoffed at, therefore adding on even more layers of vulnerability to co- occurring addiction/illness.
Another huge factor causing trauma in young people is divorce. When asked if they ever experienced trauma, most young people never mention divorce as a traumatic event until it is pointed out. Divorce is devastating and causes financial and emotional instability for entire family units. For the children, they suffer from fears of abandonment, shame and excessive worrying about parents.