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October 29, 2022
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Why Healing From Trauma Is Important During Addiction Recovery

October 29, 2022


Trauma is a very influential event that can find its way into an individual’s life in many ways. One of the ways trauma shows its work in a person’s life is through addiction. Addiction and trauma are two terms that are closely related. Many people who suffer from addiction have gone through trauma at some point.

Since trauma is a major cause of addiction, then it also has to be considered when going through addiction recovery at an addiction rehab center. If the trauma is not effectively handled, the individual might relapse into their old ways. Many addicts looking for addiction rehab often have a dual diagnosis. In this case, both factors need to be treated simultaneously.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is the result of an event or set of events experienced by a person which was emotionally harmful or life-threatening to the person. It is a mental response to a negative experience. Trauma has a very serious impact on the lives of many individuals and is a common condition, especially in the military. A traumatized person tends to look for ways to keep their mind off the event.

Many lasting adverse effects often accompany trauma. These effects could exhibit themselves in a person’s physical, mental, financial, and social well-being. Some trauma cases get so severe that the person shows a rapid decline in their family, work, and social life. Most individuals that have gone through trauma have an addiction they indulge in. Statistics show that 90% of behavioral health patients have experienced trauma. Some types of trauma include:

  • Bullying
  • Sexual assault
  • Experiencing a natural disaster
  • Near-death experience
  • Automobile accident
  • Abuse

How Trauma Can Turn Into Addiction

Many times, trauma leads to substance abuse. Hence, the two terms are closely related. Many individuals who have gone through war and other traumatic events tend to engage in drug and alcohol addiction. This is because drugs and alcohol can temporarily distract a person from unwanted emotions and memories.

Trauma is a very influential condition that can cause relapse in rehabilitators. It is not easy to overcome trauma. If an individual does not properly get over their trauma, they might find themselves going back to the very same addictions they are trying to stop. When treating addiction, preparing therapy sessions for the individual is necessary for complete recovery.

In situations where a person’s addiction problem is a result of trauma, the individual needs to undergo healing for the trauma at the addiction rehab alongside their addiction treatment. If the person’s addiction is all that is focused on, the individual has a huge chance of relapsing when a trauma episode occurs. It is important to remember that trauma can be the main source of the addiction itself and you have to overcome trauma.

Drugs and alcohol serve as coping mechanisms for individuals who are victims of trauma. They abuse these substances to help them cope with the trauma effects. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and alcohol temporarily alleviate trauma symptoms and make people feel relaxed or energized. Hence they are often abused by trauma victims. This leads to consequences such as alcohol disorders.

When a person regularly makes use of antidepressants, alcohol, and other substances to quell trauma effects, it can lead to addiction. Trauma and addiction both have adverse effects on a person’s life. When it’s the two of them together, it has even more harmful effects on a person’s life.

How To Overcome Both Trauma And Addiction

When an individual’s addiction is a result of trauma, it requires more than just detoxification and sobriety to ensure a full addiction recovery. The underlying cause of the addiction needs to be addressed as well. These underlying causes could be anything ranging from mental health conditions to trauma.

When trauma is discovered as an underlying cause of addiction, the person is said to have a dual diagnosis. In the case of dual diagnosis, both conditions have to be treated simultaneously to get the desired result. That means as the person is going through recovery, they also need to have therapy sessions to overcome trauma.

The addiction, in this case, can be seen as simply a symptom of the real problem, which is trauma. This means that long-term recovery from addiction is almost impossible if only one aspect is treated. Dual diagnosis treatment helps individuals discover methods to cope with their trauma while also tackling addiction. It ensures complete and relapse-free recovery from trauma and addiction.

When treating both trauma and addiction, things like behavioral therapy, family therapy, and counseling sessions can help individuals get through their recovery process easier and faster. Trauma therapy can still be continued even after addiction recovery is complete to ensure one stays on the right track.

Addiction And PTSD

PTSD is a mental condition that occurs when a person exhibits regular trauma symptoms. The condition is very prominent in the military as a lot of death, and traumatizing experiences occur in that line of the field. Many individuals who suffer from both trauma and addiction tend to be diagnosed with PTSD.

Statistics show that 20% of Americans who have experienced trauma at some point in their life develop PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition where special medication may be prescribed depending on symptoms exhibited. The prescription is usually given by a psychiatrist with the opinion of a therapist.

In many cases, people suffering from PTSD abuse the medications prescribed to them. The medication helps alleviate trauma symptoms and hence, is frequently abused by trauma victims who want to escape their experience. The frequent abuse often leads to addiction, which negatively impacts the person’s life.

Many people suffering from PTSD also tend to rely on hard drugs and alcohol for relief when they face trauma symptoms. Over time, the frequent use of the substance will lead to body dependency and alcohol disorders. Addiction is a very common trait among victims of trauma and people with PTSD.


Trauma happens as a result of unwanted negative occurrences happening in a person’s life. It could come in many ways and can be caused by various reasons. Addiction is a common trait that follows closely with trauma. Many trauma victims turn to drug and alcohol consumption to ease their condition.

Frequent use of substances when seeking relief from trauma can lead to addiction or alcohol disorders. Many individuals suffering from PTSD also tend to abuse their medication and get addicted to them over time. When treating addiction, it is important to watch for underlying source factors like trauma so that the recovery can be complete and effective.

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