One of the most common causes of addiction is exposure to trauma. There are many types of experiences that can be considered traumatic including the following:
- Battlefield violence
- Exposure to death
- Car accidents
- Being the victim of violent crime
- Financial devastation
- Natural disasters
These experiences and many others like them are too intense for our emotions to process. The result is a sort of psychological shutdown, as the brain tries to protect itself from further harm. Trauma can cause physiological damage as well. Naturally produced chemicals in the brain become unbalanced and disrupt a person’s mental health.
Sexual Trauma and Addiction
One of the most common types of trauma is sexual assault. This kind of abuse cuts deep into the victim’s identity and sense of self. Men who are sexually assaulted are at a particularly high risk of developing substance abuse and addiction issues. The anxiety and shame they feel temporarily goes away when they drink alcohol or take drugs.
Victims of rape often go through phases of self-doubt, self-blame and emotional insecurity. These negative emotions are relieved for a short time by substance abuse, but this relief doesn’t last.
Dual Diagnosis Addiction and Trauma Treatment
Some of the most successful addiction recovery programs use an approach called Dual Diagnosis treatment to address both the obvious addiction issues and any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to the addiction or complicating recovery.
Victims of rape can find great help through this type of comprehensive, holistic treatment. Specialized treatment regiments are drawn up for each patient based on his or her unique needs.
Some of the most commonly used and effective therapies include the following:
- Intensive personal counseling
- Support groups
- 12-step programs
- Spiritual and emotional care
- Introduction to healthy new activities and skills
- Nutritional support
- Education about the causes, effects and treatment of addiction
This work is done in a comfortable, restful environment where patients are able to focus all of their energy on getting well and are not distracted by the temptations of everyday life.