Trauma and addiction are closely related. Whether you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or another behavior, trauma may affect your treatment success and overall health.
Trauma is caused when a person experiences an event that damages his or her physical or emotional wellbeing. Trauma can be a single instance or repeated instances. A single experience may include the following:
Repeated traumas continue for a long period of time. Repeated sexual abuse or physical abuse, becoming a hostage or a war prisoner, or being in prison or dangerous environments can cause prolonged trauma exposures. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is related to trauma and is present when trauma still affects your life months after the event or events ended. PTSD can cause nightmares, flashbacks, panic, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, depression and more.
Trauma can change a person’s perspective, making it difficult to cope with life after the trauma. Trauma can be physically and emotionally scarring and extremely troublesome for people to cope with. People will often react with horror, fear and a sense of helplessness when recovering from the effects of the trauma that they have undergone.
This can pave the way for addiction problems as the troubled person may seek to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or prescription drugs. Substance use can help to numb the emotional stress and physical pain or help to remove the memories of the trauma problem momentarily. No one plans to become addicted, yet many people become accidentally addicted while dealing with trauma.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment approach used to treat the effects of trauma. Since trauma can be a life changing experience, EMDR is used for those that display PTSD symptoms and have also become addicted to drugs, alcohol and other prescription drugs. According to many clinical studies (“Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1071 – 1089), treatment programs that offer EMDR treatment have resulted in the reduction of PTSD symptoms by as much as 77 – 90% over a period of 3 – 7 sessions. This shows that trauma can be reduced by the introduction of EMDR techniques.
If you need help with trauma and addiction, call us now. We can help. We work with the nation’s top integrated treatment programs to help you and your family to overcome the effects of trauma, PTSD and substance use. Because we work with a large group of treatment providers, we are able to help you find treatment that meets your desires and preferences. Please call our 24 hour toll-free helpline now to find out how we can help you with treatment placement, family intervention, family counseling, aftercare, insurance coverage for treatment and more.