The Connection Between Trauma And Addiction
The Connection Between Trauma And Addiction
Everyone faces difficult periods in their lives. Some more than others. However, some people are faced with something that changes everything they thought they knew. This is generally recognized as a traumatic experience. Someone who has been through something traumatic feel it changes them on a deep level.
Trauma can cause many different problems. The first thing it does is upset our standard of normal, it shakes our emotional wellbeing. For some this experience isn’t something they know how to deal with.
Trauma can be experienced or for some just seeing something traumatic can cause emotional disturbances. It can leave you feeling helpless, horrified and even afraid, depending on the situation.
Someone doesn’t have to experience something traumatic to have an addiction, and there may have even been struggles with abuse before the event, however, traumatic experiences often can lead to addiction.
Those who are looking to escape the traumatic experience are looking to get that type of high, or intoxication that will let them forget what they have seen or gone through. Someone who has been through or seen something traumatic will often turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate themselves through the problem.
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is becoming more and more recognized in recent years. It is considered an anxiety disorder, and can be either acute meaning that it is a temporary state and generally lasts under three months or a chronic condition, when the problem has gone on for more than three months.
PTSD has warning signs. Some of those symptoms may include a desire to distances oneself from talking about the event in question. Often someone suffering with PTSD will avoid talking about what happened because they don’t want to think about it, or more importantly don’t want to deal with the emotions that it’s caused.
If the traumatic experience happened in a specific location, for example a car accident, someone suffering with PTSD may avoid going anywhere near that place again. They avoid it so that they don’t have to relive that experience or face the emotional toll seeing the place can cause.
For someone who has been through a sexually related trauma they may have difficulty engaging in intimate relationships, even if they were already with someone when the event happened.
PTSD also has physical symptoms
PTSD also has physical symptoms, that can include an inability to relax like they used to, difficulty sleeping and even significant mood swings. PTSD can also leave someone with difficulties concentrating on tasks at hand, or making commitments to projects.
Dealing with a traumatic event in the first moments can be critical to how someone handles the situation. When tragedy strikes at a school for example therapy options are made readily available to the students, teachers, and anyone else involved. This is designed to help people process the psychological events that have just occurred.
When something traumatic occurs to an individual it’s important to seek out someone who is trained in dealing with traumatic events and PTSD. It helps to keep the traumatic experience from causing deeper damage.
Emotional and mental problems
The longer it takes someone to seek help the more likely it is that the traumatic event will take root, and cause emotional and mental problems down the road. When a traumatic event is ignored it can often lead to the desire of the injured party to turn to substance abuse to help get through their issues.
Trauma an impact anyone, at any age but it is especially damaging for a child. A child sees the world differently and trauma can seem like something small but it can do serious damage to their emotional wellbeing. For example children who are bullied by classmates can become something they relive and find to be traumatic later on in life.
The most important thing to do is deal with it immediately. The longer a traumatic event has to fester the more difficult it will be to overcome. For children that can be talking through the problems with their parents. If parents react appropriately they can avoid this seemingly difficult event from becoming a life-long trauma.
Someone dealing with PTSD and addiction is facing a double and very intertwined problem.
When addiction is caused by a traumatic event and a desire to self-medicate it is clear that the mental problems that the user is going through need to be addressed.
One of the ways that recovery can aid in this is to teach the person dealing with addiction to find new and healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their stress. Flashbacks are a common symptom of PTSD and is often a driving factor in going on a binge of one form or another. Reliving something that disturbs you is difficult, but there are ways that you can learn to cope with these that don’t include drugs or alcohol.
With the help of a trained team of professionals in a recovery center a person addicted due to traumatic experiences will be able to safely explore those underlying problems. Individual and group therapy programs will provide the most benefit to someone who is dealing with PTSD and addiction. In group therapy you will find that there is a strong support system of people who truly understand what you are going through.
Regardless of the type of trauma, or how long it has been it shouldn’t be taken lightly, it should be treated with the appropriate level of therapy and addiction recovery.