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Addiction and trauma

If a trauma is not processed and integrated, memories and the associated unpleasant feelings can flood those affected. The nervous system of the affected person often reacts with over-excitement (hyper-arousal) or under-arousal (avoidance). Typical complaints are nervousness and restlessness, difficulty concentrating, increased alertness, jumpiness, irritability and

sleep disturbances. It is not uncommon for those affected to develop substance use disorders or behavioral addictions as a result. Persistent substance abuse, in turn, can lead to comorbid organic diseases, such as liver dysfunction caused by alcohol abuse. Behavioral addiction manifests itself as excessive behavior that is not related to substances and continues despite a loss of control and problems that arise. Depression, anxiety disorders and personality disorders often occur at the same time as addiction or substance abuse. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD can develop as a result of severe, prolonged or repeated trauma. In contrast to simple PTSD, there are diverse, pronounced impairments in the areas of thinking, feelings and social relationships. 

The normal processing in the brain:
Thalamus: As the "gateway to the cerebral cortex", the thalamus filters sensory impressions.
Amygdala: Connection of emotions and events. 
Hippocampus: Temporal and Geographical Attribution. Transfer to long-term storage. 
Cerebral cortex: long-term storage

Processing after traumatic events:
Thalamus: Sensory inputs are processed by the thalamus.
Amygdala: Traumatic memories are burned in. Memories that cannot be assigned develop a life of their own.
Hippocampus: The experience is not associated with reality (hippocampal amnesia).
Cerebral cortex: No or incomplete storage of the traumatic events.

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