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How Trauma and Addiction Are Connected

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How Trauma and Addiction Are Connected

Traumatic experiences can have a seriously negative impact on your life. That impact may include the development of posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. It may also include other kinds of mental health issues. Far too often, those issues include drug or alcohol addiction. How are trauma and addiction connected? Let’s find out.

If you are affected by any form of trauma-related condition, a trauma treatment program will support your recovery. New Start Recovery offers trauma treatment to help you take back control of your life. Get started on the road to recovery by calling 833.433.0448.

Trauma and Addiction: What Is Trauma?

Trauma is the name for extreme experiences that at least temporarily overwhelm your normal coping abilities. Experiences that tend to produce this effect range from natural disasters to physical or sexual assault. You don’t have to be directly affected by a given situation to develop a traumatic reaction. Many people experience such a reaction just from seeing someone else go through trauma.

Three kinds of emotional or psychological responses are common in traumatized people:

  • A sense of fear or terror
  • The acute stress reaction known as shock
  • Denial of the reality of a traumatic event

You may overcome the effects of trauma without any help. In fact, many people do. However, substantial numbers of people don’t recover from trauma on their own. Instead, they experience lingering effects that damage their ability to function.

The Trauma and Addiction Connection

Research shows a clear link between trauma exposure and addiction risks. Moreover, this link affects people of all ages. However, it’s especially active in those who go through traumatic experiences as children. As adults, survivors of childhood trauma have substantially increased chances of becoming addicted to a variety of substances. Those substances include legal and illegal opioids, marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol.

Childhood survivors also have increased chances of developing symptoms of PTSD. There is indeed an interactive connection between childhood trauma, PTSD, and addiction. Higher levels of trauma tend to produce higher levels of drug or alcohol use. The same also holds true for substance use and the seriousness of your PTSD symptoms.

Coping with Trauma

What is the reason for the connection between trauma and addiction? Generally, no one can say for sure in any given case. However, the main underlying motivation is frequently attempting to cope with trauma’s lingering effects. Specific goals of such an attempt may include:

  • Evening out your mood
  • Avoiding intrusive, trauma-related thoughts
  • Easing an overactivated fight-or-flight response
  • Numbing the emotional pain of lingering trauma

Unfortunately, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol significantly increases your exposure to addiction.

Trauma Treatment

Today, treatments are available to help you recover from trauma-related conditions. That includes help for PTSD and a related condition called acute stress disorder, or PTSD. It also includes help for any other trauma- or stressor-related disorder. 

The main method used to support recovery from trauma is psychotherapy. An option called cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is often used in trauma treatment. Many recovery plans include a specific type of CBT called exposure therapy. You may also receive medication as part of your treatment. Anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are often used for this purpose.

Get Help for Trauma and Addiction at New Start Recovery

Are you or your loved one affected by trauma and addiction? New Start Recovery can help. We feature a dedicated trauma treatment program. This program will help you overcome the effects of adult or childhood trauma. In doing so, it also supports your efforts to recover from addiction. 

Treatment at New Start Recovery is both customized and comprehensive. No matter the source of your trauma, we will help you regain your well-being. For more information on our services, call us today at 833.433.0448. You can also reach out through our online form.

Posted in Addiction, Addiction Treatment Programs, Mental Health Treatment, Trauma Treatment Program