Trauma leads to substance abuse for many survivors. We promise, you’re not alone in this.
It sounds like such a clinical term. But New Start’s care staff knows that addressing psychological scars isn’t so objective. Each case is unique, and a person’s individual reaction to horrors like abuse, rape, and other forms of violence cannot be solved by a blanket approach.
Why Trauma Leads to Addiction
The emotional fallout of trauma is not something survivors can just “get over” and move on. There is a reason people who go through trauma are called survivors, and its connection to addiction is well-documented. These experiences actually change a person’s brain physiology to the point that their survival instincts realign to a hostile environment. This is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
But understanding the neurology behind PTSD doesn’t actually fix its symptoms. Survivors need access to cognitive tools that condition the mind away from those triggered survival instincts and healthfully adjust to a new, safer environment. Addiction is often one of the symptoms to overcome.
Physical Abuse / Assault
Usually due to a family member/spouse who has unresolved anger issues of their own. Physical pain and intimidation drive fear and can result in serious psychiatric problems for the victim later down the road.
Not all forms of abuse leave physical evidence like cuts and bruises. Emotional abuse can take the form of systematic insults, belittling, emasculation, and more. These can lead to serious self worth and coping problems.
Sexual Abuse / Assault
This includes more than rape. Any kind of inappropriate or unwanted sexual touching is a form of abuse, especially when the victims are children. Stigma is also a major road block for survivors who need help.
Military Combat / Witnessing Violence
PTSD among veterans has been widely studied and documented. As survivors of major traumatic experiences, vets are at extremely high risk of developing maladaptive coping behaviors like addiction.
Getting in a car crash or having your house burn down can be very psychologically damaging. Accidents that cause serious physical harm can also have the added complication of painkillers (Rx opiates) because this is a common gateway to addiction.
Young people need socialization and security to transition healthfully into adulthood. Children who experience neglect often develop major health and emotional coping problems.
Two Birds, One Stone
Trauma and addiction are intimately intertwined. Daily therapy (in both individual and group settings) is the best way to address trauma head-on. Our licensed psychologists sit with clients individually and outline the ways past traumatic experiences are driving their current addiction problem. Through this method, New Start’s holistic recovery program addresses both PTSD and addiction at the same time.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
“Seeing a therapist” is not simply leaning back in a chair spouting off about your childhood to a stranger with a notepad. That kind of one-sided monologue doesn’t help anyone. On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a dialogue approach that teaches self-help.
Since addicts need ways to “retrain” their brains, psychologists reach out, engage, and demonstrate positive coping strategies that trauma survivors can utilize every day. CBT usually includes plans that preemptively outline emergency response and relapse prevention tools. This “toolbox” helps recovering addicts circumvent their cravings and defect to healthier coping strategies.
It’s Time to Get Help
We understand that trauma is a sensitive subject that many are uncomfortable talking about. If you’re ready to get help but are nervous to reach out, please use this form to explain your trauma history and current addiction situation to us.
One of our addiction specialists will read your submission and reach out to you immediately for a no-cost treatment assessment.Claim Your Recovery We offer 24/7 free assessments over the phone. Take that first step toward a better life.Call Us 855-737-7363