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According to a recent B.C. Coroners Service report zeroing in on 872 overdose deaths in B.C., more than half of the employed people in the province who died of an overdose worked in construction. Substance abuse is commonly found with many types of traumas including intergenerational trauma. Trauma can happen in multiple ways and one way is when it gets passed on from one generation (parent/caregiver) to the next (child). This passing down of trauma is called “Intergenerational Trauma”. The responses caused by Intergenerational Trauma can vary from generation to generation, but typically include shame, increased anxiety and guilt, and feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. Often, intergenerational trauma is paired with other concerns such as substance & alcohol use, depression, and anxiety.

Often folx with deep, severe pain feel as if they can’t stand it, it’s just too much. In these situations, they may turn to alcohol or another substance to “calm down” or to deal with the symptoms of trauma. What begins as a way to help them cope and deal with the symptoms of trauma often turns into a real addiction.

Parenting plays an important role in the transmission of trauma. In a study by Meulewaeter and colleagues (2019), it was found that substance use was used as a self-fooling enabler of parental functioning which in reality, adversely affected parental functioning. Mothers with substance use disorder are more likely to have poor attachment with their children, have maladaptive parenting practices which in turn create a traumatic childhood for their child, effectively passing down the trauma.

Research investigating intergenerational trauma in indigenous folx (early migrants to Canada) who suffered centuries of oppression say that the later generations have inherited the intergenerational trauma through different cycles like seeing parents have a political dependency, followed by a generation of parents who used alcohol and substance to reduce their anxiety and panic. This is also accompanied by family violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, and accidental deaths in the family.

Similar studies have also found some indicators that include lack of belongingness, feelings of abandonment, low self-esteem, being present-oriented, history with the criminal justice system, inability to maintain intimate interpersonal relationships, and lack of or no information regarding the birth, language, culture, customs, beliefs, and spirituality of the individual. These indicators in turn perpetuate mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The family indicators mainly display family violence, emotionally unavailable parenting, denial of cultural heritage, perpetuating of negative stereotypes within the family, and mainly rampant use of drugs and alcohol, which later turns to full-blown substance use disorder crossing across generations.

At Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan (CIRP), we assist in creating holistic healing as we see addiction through the lens of Trauma. We are a treatment program that has been in business for over 35 years providing care to the construction industry. We provide counseling services for you and your family members. You can reach out to us at 604-521-8611. We are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Looking forward to providing you with the help you require.