Trauma is a frightening, distressing, life-threatening or traumatic event or experience. Traumatic events or experiences are disturbing and will impact people; however, most people cannot recover over time with the support of loved ones. Others may have a difficult time coping due to lack of support, their physical or mental state of health, past experiences and other factors.
Symptoms of Trauma
Trauma can be characterized by a number of noticeable, painful symptoms, including the following:
- Fatigue, trouble sleeping, being on-edge or having excessive alertness
- Flashbacks, hallucinations, nightmares, lack of concentration and poor memory
- Avoiding places or activities that trigger memories of the event, social isolation, not wanting to talk about the event, losing interest in old pastimes, activities and interests
- Anger, irritability, depression, fear, anxiety, panic, guilt, detachment, numbness or helplessness
Those living with trauma may exude any of these problems and will need professional help recovering.
Why Do People Use Marijuana to Cope with Trauma?
Trauma is painful, exhausting and even detrimental to your health. Those unable to cope with trauma are in so much pain that they begin to search for anything that will bring relief. Sometimes individuals suffering from trauma are without family or friends who can support them. Not everyone with trauma can manage it or cope with it in a healthy manner. These individuals still need relief and they want it fast, which is why many seek out drugs or alcohol.
With its short-term side effects, marijuana is a popular drug of choice. Taking marijuana is therapeutic to those in pain. It produces euphoria, relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. Marijuana also decreases feelings of anxiety, impairs one’s memory and makes people sleepy; these side effects are particularly helpful to those with sleeping troubles, anxiety, flashbacks and other common symptoms of trauma.
How Marijuana Abuse Harms People
Using marijuana to manage trauma is dangerous, and can only “manage” trauma for a short time. Individuals must find treatment help if they wish to get better, otherwise the symptoms will only worsen and lead to more problems and interfere with your everyday life.
Specific dangers of using marijuana to manage trauma is that the drug creates a rebound effect. While the drug can temporarily alleviate symptoms of trauma, it interferes with the brain’s natural hormones that relieve stress, meaning that once the drug wears off, the user’s symptoms of trauma will intensify and the brain will be less able to help itself. This can cause people to take larger amounts of the drug, turn to harder drugs or mix marijuana with other drugs to find relief. As a result one is more likely to become dependent, addicted or even face an overdose, fatality, health complication or other emergency.
Drugs do not make the symptoms of trauma go away; they only magnify them and create more stress and problems. People struggling with both trauma and substance abuse must seek help immediately. As the implications of trauma continue, individuals may turn to other self-destructive behavior including suicide.