How Have Trauma and Addiction Touched Your Life?

How Have Trauma and Addiction Touched Your Life?Kaiser Permanente’s “Adverse Childhood Experiences” study looked at 17,000 individuals and found a definite connection between childhood trauma and several forms of addiction. Adults are generally better equipped to handle major events, but they too are susceptible to addiction after trauma. A traumatic event is subjective, but they can include the following examples:

  • Physical injury or accident
  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce, rejection or bullying
  • Domestic violence
  • Childhood abuse
  • War combat
  • Terrorist attacks

These traumatic events can drive people to seek relief through the euphoria of drug use, but addiction may swiftly follow and cause devastating problems.

Ways Trauma Leads to Substance Abuse

If an event is traumatic enough, the emotional pain can exceed a person’s psychological limit. In such cases, individuals might use drugs to self-medicate or temporarily mask pain. Some addictions develop for the following examples:

  • Alcohol and marijuana suppress chronic fear of harm or abuse, reduces memory equivalents (flashbacks or nightmares) and dissociates painful feelings
  • Cocaine tackles the same issues in the opposite way by providing a sense of control and invincibility
  • Heroin and opiates numb traumatic feelings and reduce their effects
  • Conversely, some traumas create numbness, so stimulants like speed, cocaine and amphetamines help survivors feel alive again
  • Alcohol is a particularly versatile substance in that different amounts can either increase or diminish this numbness
  • Amphetamines provide help block out traumatic memories and their effects

Overall, drug abuse tries to create a chemical barrier that separates users from trauma, but this is only a temporary fix that ultimately leads to greater distress.

How Addiction and Trauma Damage Relationships

A trauma-induced addiction can dramatically affect relationships with the following issues:

  • Struggles to connect emotionally with family members and friends
  • Reenactment of the traumas on loved ones (e.g., domestic abuse)
  • Issues with anger, anxiety, panic and paranoia
  • Failure to fulfill obligations to friends and family

On a general level, trauma-based addiction can cause the following problems:

  • Co-workers to cover for your addiction and lack of productivity
  • Serious accidents when driving or operating machinery
  • Paranoid overreactions that lead to violence or injury
  • Support for illegal and dangerous narcotic commerce

There are countless ways that trauma and addiction can harm others, but integrated treatment can help people overcome both conditions.

Integrated Treatment for Addiction and Trauma

Dual Diagnosis treatment is a holistic approach that treats the whole person. Treating the trauma or addiction alone and ignoring the other problem sets people up for failure. Integrated treatment offers the following benefits:

  • Comfortable detox with medical supervision to minimize withdrawals
  • Examining the traumatic events and how to control their effects
  • Treatment for anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, guilt, shame and depression
  • Alternative methods to deal with emotional stress
  • Behavioral therapies that promote more positive life skills
  • Group therapy with the option to discuss trauma
  • Aftercare counseling and treatment to monitor struggles and setbacks

Treatment centers also help people repair the relationships that trauma and addiction strained.

Help Finding Treatment for Trauma and Addiction

Don’t let addiction and trauma cripple your life. Our staff is available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline to discuss your situation, explain treatment options and even check your health insurance policy for coverage. Call us now and get started on your path to freedom.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email