Today, by the time a child is a senior in high school, 70% have already tried alcohol. 50% will have tried some type of an illegal drug. 40% have smoked tobacco or used a nicotine product. 20% of children will have used a prescription drug for a nonprescription use. Despite these numbers, we look at the broken who live on the street with discourse in thinking, "They choose their addiction which landed them on the street." The relation to childhood drug or alcohol use to adult addiction is overwhelming.
The environment around a teen greatly impacts teenagers choosing to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Violence, physical abuse, sex abuse, emotional abuse all play a role in the temptation of alcohol and drug use. Personality traits such as ADD and ADHD also increase the likelihood of a child trying something that will have a negative impact on them.
If a child experiences trauma at a young age and / or becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it will change the growth pattern of the prefrontal cortex. That said, the impact will last a life time. Addiction can soon set in and life is forever changed.
The other side of addiction:
On top of the above information, addiction equals a lack of human “meaningful” interaction. In other words, the addicted may interact with other users, but at a very surface level while clean or sober.
Furthermore, the addicted man or woman who lives on the street usually has zero healthy relationships nor knows how to form one while addicted.
So, could adult addiction be a combination of child trauma, lack of relationship? My thought would be yes.
Why? The damaged prefrontal cortex, that was damaged in childhood, is the planning region of the brain. It is where personality and expression originate from. Most importantly for continued use of negative behaviors, the prefrontal area is where decision making takes place along with moderating social behavior.
Knowing how sections of the brain function further verifies that addiction and lack of social interaction and healthy relationships go hand in hand. Especially when you dive into damage to the brain caused by childhood trauma followed by alcohol or drug use.
Many on the street do not know how to have positive connections with other human life. More so, their brain does not know how to cope with life without medicated help. The addicted brain related to childhood trauma does not know how to navigate behavior and life.
Of course, it is much deeper than my above words once you mix in mental illness and depression. That is an entire book on information.