Addicted to Drugs after a Traumatic Event

Addicted to drugs after a traumatic eventMany people have experienced a traumatic event either directly or indirectly. Trauma may include witnessing or experiencing such things as the following:

  • Theft
  • Unexpected death
  • Rape
  • Violence
  • Natural disaster

Regardless of whether the traumatic event impacted you directly or indirectly, there is a strong chance that you may be experiencing a range of upsetting emotions and an underlying sense of fear.

Physical and Psychological Effects of Trauma

After experiencing trauma a person may find that their sleep patterns are interrupted, their appetite changes and they feel different physical. A lack of sleep can lead to anger, irritability or agitation, while a reduced appetite may cause dizziness or headaches. Fear and anxiety related to trauma can lead to heart palpitations, while others develop a fever in response to traumatic memories.

The most common emotion a person feels after a trauma is fear. Fear has a way of affecting all other emotions and can impact feelings of security, confidence and self-image. While struggling to overcome the sense of constant danger a person may actively avoid people and places associated with the trauma. The person may feel that the ability to trust themselves and others has been stripped away, and this may lead to feelings of instability and may alter or limit typical daily activities. Some people become hyper-vigilant, constantly looking over their shoulders, and others become numb and disconnected. While experiencing this diminished physical and emotional state, a person often feels unable to focus, may overreact to situations or may demonstrate erratic and inappropriate behaviors.

Addiction in Response to Trauma

When a person feels unstable, insecure and afraid, he or she may be willing to try anything to regain balance or provide numbness. Self-medication with drugs is a common strategy that trauma victims use to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, when a person turns to drugs, he or she is simply trading the physical, emotional and psychological damage they experience as a result of the trauma with the physical, emotional and psychological damage associated with drug abuse and addiction.

While it is not uncommon for a person who has experienced trauma to turn to drugs for temporary relief, it is not a constructive course of action. What often happens is that the temporary relief that a person may get from drugs does not allow the person to address the negative impact of the trauma. If a person does not confront and resolve these underlying issues, they are simply making themselves more susceptible to drug abuse. Often, the result is that the damage from drug abuse after a traumatic event has more of a negative impact than the original event.

Stop the Cycle of Trauma and Addiction

The cycle of trauma and addiction starts with an event or occurrence that is out of your control. As a result of that trauma, you experience changes to your physical, emotional and psychological health. In response to those changes you used drugs in an attempt resolve these issues or numb yourself to them. Drug abuse added another set of destructive elements to your life. You need to break this cycle and create a new healthy pattern of living.

Learn More about Addiction and Trauma Help

You don’t have to struggle with addiction and trauma alone; we are here to help. If you feel that you could benefit from addiction therapy and need more information to make your decision, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about rehab options and put you in touch with recovery resources that will meet your individual recovery needs.

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