Generational Trauma & Addiction - It Can Be Overcome

The roots of addiction rarely begin with one person. Many can trace patterns of addition, trauma, and drug-related deaths in their families back through generations. CDP Healthcare’s Compass Care program is working hard against opioid addiction by focusing on education, prevention and recovery to help break these intergenerational patterns.

What is addiction?

Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences due to difficulty stopping or moderating. Addiction can lead to a variety of mental health disorders including depression and anxiety as well as other psychological problems due to the trauma experienced.

How common are drug overdose deaths?

There were 70,630 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2019, with South Dakota experiencing more than a 20% increase in all drug overdose deaths during that year. In 2020, the South Dakota Department of Health reported 84 overdose deaths in the state. In broad perspective, Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) affect over 20 million Americans aged 12 and over.

What is intergenerational trauma?

Intergenerational trauma refers to the ways in which trauma experienced in the past can impact the health and well-being of future generations - passing down from parents to children and continuing a legacy of pain and denial of trauma.

What are examples of traumatic events that lead to intergenerational trauma?

Traumatic events that may lead to intergenerational trauma include parental incarceration, divorce, addiction, alcohol or substance use disorder, domestic violence, certain parenting behaviors, and more.

How do you break the cycle of intergenerational trauma?

Children of trauma survivors must be willing to work through their family's trauma - open and honest communication can open up channels of healing and foster resilience to help break the cycle. There are many different types of therapy to help combat intergenerational trauma.