woman deals with the link between trauma and addiction

Trauma can impact a person well after the actual event is over. For some, it causes hidden scars. There can even be a connection between trauma and substance abuse. Some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after traumatic events. The symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and feelings of depression. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve these feelings, which can lead to dependency.

If you or someone you love has started to use drugs and alcohol to cope in the aftermath of a traumatic event, a dual diagnosis treatment program can help you heal. Learn more about the connection between trauma and substance abuse and contact a treatment center near you today.

Understand the Trauma Response

Sometimes, it’s easy to define trauma. Surviving rape, domestic violence, violent crimes, or returning from combat can lead to trauma responses. On the other hand, this type of shock is a highly individualized experience. It might involve situations that don’t affect everyone the same way.

Other examples include childhood abandonment, deaths of loved ones, and similar situations. Depending on your emotional makeup, even non-violent events can lead to a trauma response. Because traumatic events affect brain development, they can lead to dysfunctional responses. Therapists in an addiction rehab program frequently work with people who experienced these events in their pasts and can help them heal.

The Connection Between Trauma and Substance Abuse

Being a trauma survivor doesn’t mean that you’ll become a substance abuser. However, the damage that the experience does to the brain can predispose you to chemical dependency. In many cases, there’s an intermediate step of developing a mental health condition. Examples include anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

However, few people recognize the symptoms and receive counseling. Rather, they self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to make unwelcome thoughts and intrusive emotions go away. In this way, trauma and substance abuse share a link. Most importantly, the act of self-medicating only works for a short time.

Overcome Self-Medicating with Drugs and Alcohol through Rehab and Trauma Treatment

When you begin an addiction treatment program, team members will assess you for co-occurring mental health conditions. They know to look for the symptoms that you might not have recognized. Similarly, they put together a profile that searches explicitly for trigger situations. If you experienced trauma in the past, treatment might require a specialized approach.

Treatment approaches typically include:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment with medication and psychotherapy
  • Trauma therapy program that focuses on your ability to work through the situation in safety and at your own pace
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which empowers you to recognize dysfunctional patterns that you want to alter
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a way to rein in intrusive emotions that contribute to negative decision-making
  • Family counseling to help loved ones understand how trauma affected you and what level of support you need

To heal from trauma and substance abuse, high-quality facilities also use holistic treatments. Examples might include meditation for stress relief and yoga that adds motion to the mix. Besides that, there’s typically recreational therapy. It helps you leave your comfort zone and explore new hobbies to build self-esteem and self-reliance.

Don’t Wait to Get the Help You Need

You deserve to live a life free from chemical dependency. When you get help for trauma and substance abuse, you open the door to long-term recovery. Don’t you owe it to yourself to make a drastic change in your life right now? Contact San Antonio Recovery Center at 866.957.7885, or contact us online to find out how easy it is to enroll in treatment and learn more about our programs.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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