Recent Study Highlights the “Life Course Perspective” on Addiction Recovery


When most people contemplate addiction recovery, they consider addiction as being the main “problem”. On surface, this may seem true – addiction can cause damage to a person’s mind and body, harming friends, family members, and practically anything that gets in its path, almost like a tornado. While it’s true that addiction is often a “problem” that sparks other problems, it’s important to consider that many people veer towards addiction as a solution to life’s problems – which could have stemmed from childhood or other important periods of their life. We all have moments in our lives that have greatly influenced us – some good, others bad. The way that we deal with the effects of these events greatly determines the path of our life course; with each decision, we make subsequent decisions, and so on. So what does this mean when we take a “life course perspective”?

A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Western Oregon University sought to explore the perspectives of those recovery from heroin addiction. Five participants were interviewed in-depth related to early life experiences and how these experiences shaped their addiction, treatment, and recovery. Several life experiences emerged from participants’ recollections:

  • Early exposure to drugs and alcohol – parental substance abuse was present in all participants’ homes growing up, which did have an influence on the way they perceived substance use
  • Childhood stress and trauma – physical, emotional, sexual abuse and family violence were mentioned as contributing factors to their later developed substance dependency, as several participants stated
  • School experiences – social rejection during childhood and early adolescence seemed to be another major factors for substance abuse later on down the road


These study, among others, shows that addiction often doesn’t just arise out of nowhere – our mental, physical, and spiritual health, along with social, biological, and environmental factors, all impact our experiences. If you’re currently in recovery for substance dependency, you will likely talk to your therapist and other recovery leaders about factors that have impacted you over the years. From there, you can develop tools towards healing the wounds of your childhood that have caused pain on your heart – thus helping you move forward in recovery.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.