Trauma and Addiction – Breaking the Cycle

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 | By Lisa Downing

Woman and doctor discuss the connect of trauma and addiction to break the cycle at The Shores in Florida.

You lost your house, or even a loved one, in a disaster; an abusive relationship came to an end; you have been sexually assaulted or physically abused; you are a veteran or first responder and have lived trauma. Trauma is when you face and emotional response to something terrible that you witnessed or experienced. The feelings that come with trauma can seem to be unbearable at times, causing a person to seek other means to numb the pain.

Signs of Trauma

Everyone experiences trauma and the feelings that follow a little bit differently. Someone may have an immediate emotional response to their trauma, or it may take time for them to process it before they experience any symptoms.

Common symptoms of trauma include:

  • Shock
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Fear
  • Anger and Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt and shame
  • Withdrawing from normal activities
  • Feeling disconnected

If you or someone you love is showing some of the above signs, it may be a result of trauma. The feelings associated with trauma are hard to cope with, which is why it sometimes leads people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. In fact, over 65% of addicts have experienced trauma in their lives.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is when someone suffers from both a mental health condition as well as addiction. Since the two are often correlated, some rehab centers specialize in the treatment of both – utilizing highly skilled counselors.

Through behavioral health therapy, a patient can find what feelings or experiences trigger substance abuse and learn to cope with those emotions instead of turning to drugs or alcohol. Addiction treatment is fluid where you must have a wide view on a patient’s life and how they react to different events in their lives.

The Bottom Line

Trauma can lead you down a dark road, but when you learn how to cope with the emotions that trauma causes, you can overcome addiction and live a happier life. Finding a treatment facility with a dual diagnosis program is important to ensure that all aspects and causes of addiction are addressed.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health condition and addiction, give us a call today. We are committed to individualized care that gives a patient the resources they need to recover.

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