Trauma can cause physical and psychological damage. The loss of a loved one, a job, an important relationship or personal health can be emotionally traumatic. Real fear of personal harm or death can lead to an intense and even debilitating case of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD symptoms may cause individuals to turn to substances such as prescription medications, alcohol or illicit drugs for relief.
Self-Medication, Personal Comfort and Addiction
One of the most common underlying reasons for drug use is a desire for physical and psychological comfort. The reward center of the brain exists to reinforce behaviors. If a behavior or substance triggers this center, then that behavior or substance will be craved again and again.
The tension that is felt in the brain as a result of trauma is temporarily relieved by the use of drugs or alcohol or through compulsive behaviors. This desire for comfort and the relief of PTSD symptoms can be responsible for powerful cravings or habits that are difficult to end.
Recovering from Addiction after Trauma
The most effective addiction treatment facilities take great pains to treat addiction from the ground up. Fully integrated programs identify any and all co-occurring psychological conditions and then develop comprehensive treatment plans that identify the essential needs of each patient. The underlying conditions that may have lead to the addiction in the first place are treated right alongside the more obvious issues.
These programs offer a wide range of possible addiction treatment therapies including the following:
- Caring, personal counseling to help the patient understand both addiction and PTSD
- Support group meetings to allow patients to serve and be served by their fellow patients
- Medically supervised detox from all addictive chemicals
The only way to successful treat addiction that follows trauma is to provide healing for trauma along with freedom from addiction.