Addiction rarely develops without other contributing factors. Psychological or emotional distress often leads people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Victims of trauma are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse and addiction if they don’t receive the proper care.
Many suffer from the devastating effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and don’t even realize it. The road to recovery from addiction and all of the underlying causes begins with a conversation with someone who can really help.
How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?
Trauma has numerous effects on the brain and body. Several psychological problems can develop following exposure to the violence of warfare, violent crime, proximity to explosions or natural disasters or even head injuries. Chemical and electrical activity in the brain is severely impacted by trauma.
The endocrine system pumps substances like endorphins into the bloodstream in order to speed up a person’s reflexes and help them get out of danger fast. This spike of energy affects the brain in a similar, though much smaller way as a shot of a drug like cocaine.
These chemical and electrical stimulations can wreak havoc on a person’s nervous system and cause a range of ongoing symptoms such as the following:
- Anxiety disorders
- Anger management problems
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Many people who experience these symptoms turn to substance abuse self-medicate them. This type of use quickly turns into dependency and addiction.
Recovery from Trauma and Addiction
With the proper treatment many of the effects of trauma – including addiction – can be overcome. The key to recovery is integrated treatment for the addiction and the trauma. Rather than treating both problems at separate times in separate facilities, integrated treatment treats the problems simultaneously.
The most effective facilities combine elements of the following treatments into individually designed and customized programs:
- Private one-on-one counseling
- Group counseling
- Medically supervised detox
- Spiritual care
- Healthy activities and distractions
- Relaxation and meditation techniques