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The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction

trauma and addiction

What is a trauma therapy program, and who would be its ideal participants? If you’re struggling with the effects of trauma or have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may benefit from undergoing trauma therapy.

While dealing with trauma can be a challenge, when trauma co-occurs with addiction issues, recovery can become an even more difficult goal to reach. When you experience trauma, you may not know how to process it or start your healing journey.

Getting professional help can make you feel not too overwhelmed. Searching for a trauma therapy program in Florida? Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today. Call 866.308.2090 or reach out to our team online.

What Are the Effects of Trauma?

Initial effects of trauma can include agitation, anxiety, blunted effect, confusion, dissociation, exhaustion, numbness, and sadness. These responses are normal in that they affect most trauma survivors and are typically psychologically effective, self-limited, and socially acceptable.

Indicators of more severe trauma responses include the following:

  • Continuous distress without periods of relative calm or rest
  • Intense and intrusive recollections that continue despite a return to safety
  • Severe dissociation symptoms

Delayed responses to trauma can include anxiety focused on flashbacks, depression, fear of recurrence, nightmares, persistent fatigue, and sleep disorders. People dealing with the effects of trauma may also avoid emotions, sensations, or activities associated with the trauma experience. Because some people may develop a substance use disorder while dealing with trauma, they may also struggle with the effects of trauma and addiction at the same time.

What Is the Link Between Trauma and Addiction?

Many studies attribute the relationship between trauma and addiction to disruptions in the brain structure caused by the stress of trauma. In cases like this, trauma-based issues and addiction can be co-occurring disorders.

When trauma is linked to addiction, most assume it’s childhood trauma — but trauma experienced at any age can lead to developing a substance use disorder. Many also assume that childhood trauma means going through child abuse, but other stress-inducing experiences in childhood can be linked to a vulnerability to addiction. These include neglect, the loss of a parent, witnessing physical violence, and having a family member who has a mental illness. On top of the increased risk of developing substance use disorders, people with childhood trauma may also develop behavioral addictions such as compulsive eating.

In many cases, someone struggling with childhood trauma — or trauma experienced at any age — may begin abusing addictive substances to self-medicate. It’s also common for substance abuse behavior in adulthood to be modeled after a loved one’s similar behavior witnessed during childhood.

What Is a Trauma Therapy Program?

Traumatic experiences can cause mental health problems. In some cases, a client may even have co-occurring disorders. A trauma-related issue and addiction are typical disorders that can co-occur because trauma makes someone vulnerable to resorting to substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

However, substance abuse typically conceals the harmful symptoms of traumatic experiences — such as an inability to trust others or manage relationships, anxiety, depression, emotional outbursts, flashbacks, irrational mood swings, nightmares, and psychological disintegration.

A trauma therapy program can help clients struggling to overcome addiction and traumatic experiences. It can help clients build a sober and meaningful life. However, someone with a co-occurring addiction must also seek professional addiction treatment while undergoing trauma therapy. In many cases, a comprehensive addiction treatment plan may have a trauma therapy program as one of its essential components. When you treat both co-occurring disorders, you can stop relying on substance abuse to numb your severe anxiety or depression or mask the stress related to your trauma.

Trauma therapy can help you develop healthy coping skills to face triggers in the future. The primary goals of trauma therapy include the following:

  • Boosting your daily functioning
  • Facing the reality of your past traumatic experience
  • Raising hereditary trauma awareness
  • Regaining control over your life
  • Shifting the brain’s focus from past to present events

Ready To Learn More About Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Trauma Therapy Program?

If you’re looking for a trauma therapy program in Florida, contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today. Reach out to our team online or call 866.308.2090.