Trauma is a disturbing event that can leave lasting psychological effects on an individual. In some cases, people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the emotional and physical pain associated with trauma. Co-occurring trauma and substance abuse are common, and there can be devastating consequences. Let’s explore the link between substance abuse and trauma, and what you can do to find help.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a distressing experience that causes emotional and psychological damage to an individual. Trauma can be in the form of physical or emotional abuse, violence, accidents, war, natural disasters, or even witnessing a traumatic event. Everyone’s experience is different, and the impact of trauma can vary widely depending on the person and the severity of the event.
Reasons Why Trauma Can Lead to Substance Abuse
People who have experienced trauma may feel overwhelmed or have difficulty coping with their thoughts and feelings. This can lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Substance abuse can temporarily alleviate the pain and numb the emotions associated with trauma, giving the individual a false sense of control. The addiction may become a vicious cycle, as the increased use of drugs or alcohol further damages mental and physical health and exacerbates the problems caused by trauma.
Do You Need to Seek Treatment?
Yes, if you or someone you know has experienced trauma and turned to substance abuse as a coping mechanism, seeking treatment is essential. Substance abuse and trauma can be a deadly combination and can lead to severe health issues, including overdose, liver or brain damage, and even death. Seeking professional help can provide the necessary tools and support to overcome addiction and the underlying trauma.
What Happens If Trauma and Addiction Aren’t Treated At the Same Time?
If trauma and addiction are not treated simultaneously, the chances of relapse are high. The underlying trauma can trigger substance abuse, and addiction can lead to a lack of commitment to treatment for trauma. Therefore treating both conditions together is necessary to address the root causes of the addiction, heal emotional pain, and maintain sobriety.
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Dual diagnosis treatment is a specialized approach that simultaneously addresses addiction and mental health issues. Treatments involve a combination of medication, therapy, and holistic modalities like mindfulness and yoga.
Important therapies in use include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals identify and manage negative thoughts and behaviors that are fueling their substance abuse. It typically focuses on teaching new skills and coping strategies. These can be used to manage difficult emotions, such as anger or anxiety. CBT helps individuals learn healthy coping skills to manage stress, reduce cravings, and build self-esteem.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT that focuses on helping individuals regulate their emotions and behaviors. DBT teaches individuals to become more aware of their emotions and reactions. It also helps people learn how to manage them in a healthy way. It also provides skills such as distress tolerance and communication skills to help individuals better manage their emotions.
Get the Help You Need From San Antonio Recovery Center
Trauma and substance abuse are deeply connected, and if left untreated, they can lead to severe consequences. It is never too late to seek help, and dual diagnosis treatment is an effective way to address both issues simultaneously.
San Antonio Recovery Center offers specialized programs that provide evidence-based therapies for addiction and trauma. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and trauma, don’t hesitate to reach out for help today at 866.957.7885 or contact us online.