5
Nov

What Are the Benefits of Addiction and Trauma Treatment?

Trauma can leave a long-lasting impact on you or a loved one. If you have experienced trauma in the past, you might have turned to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. When trauma is an underlying factor driving an addiction, it is vital to enter treatment for both trauma and addiction.

What Is Trauma?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma as “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”

Trauma can be one event that results in adverse effects, like surviving a plane crash or other near-death experiences. You might also experience trauma for several years. Some people growing up in an abusive household might endure years of trauma and believe that these experiences are typical. However, your body and brain might have been in survival mode during a traumatic childhood.

Following a traumatic event or long-term traumatic experience changes the way your brain and body work. You might feel worried frequently, anticipating the next traumatic event. While you might have flashbacks or thoughts of trauma, you also experience trauma in your body by tensing up, sweating, or feeling the urge to flee.

Defining specific traumatic events can depend on the person and the circumstances. Not everyone feels the same way about the events that unfold during their lives.

Trauma Varies From Person to Person

The events that trigger a trauma response can vary from person to person. While many often think of traumatic events as going to war, getting into a car accident, or being sexually abused, everyday events can be traumatic for some people. 

For example, if you were bullied or picked on as a child, going to school might have been traumatic for you. While other people also experienced the same event as an everyday or mundane occurrence, you might have felt intense fear of being embarrassed or rejected nearly every time you went to school.

According to the National Center for PTSD, “Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives.” While many people will experience trauma in their lifetime, not everyone will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result.

Whether you have experienced a life-threatening event leading to PTSD or an event that made you feel significantly embarrassed around other people, you might have an underlying issue with trauma that is driving your addiction.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Addiction

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.” 

Trauma can alter your brain chemistry, causing you to feel on-edge or highly anxious during everyday events or when triggered by things that remind you of your trauma. You might then become overwhelmed and reach to drugs or alcohol to settle your nervous system.

In addition, if you develop a substance or alcohol use disorder, you are more likely to experience a traumatic event. When under the influence, you might get into dangerous situations, leading to developing a trauma disorder. Then, you go through a cycle of self-medicating to deal with the trauma that addiction exposes you to. Treatment for co-occurring trauma and addiction is vital to your recovery from both issues.

The Benefits of Addiction and Trauma Treatment 

It is best for you to treat both trauma and addiction together. If you only treat addiction without dealing with underlying trauma, you are more likely to relapse. Some might believe that if they get sober, all of their other issues will go away. However, sobriety alone will not solve all of the problems that addiction can bring into your life. You also need to dive deep into healing the trauma that drives your addiction.

Due to the prevalence of trauma among those with addiction, many rehab centers adopt trauma-informed care in their treatment approaches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with SAMHSA, outline six principles for trauma informed-care:

  1. “Safety
  2. Trustworthiness & transparency
  3. Peer support
  4. Collaboration & mutuality
  5. Empowerment & choice
  6. Cultural, historical & gender issues”

These principles ensure that those receiving treatment for addiction are not re-traumatized and triggered to relapse. Due to how commonly addiction and trauma co-occur, you might uncover underlying trauma during your treatment, even if you were unaware of the impact trauma had in your life.

Addiction and Trauma Treatment in South Florida

Addiction and trauma often go together, as experiencing trauma can make you more susceptible to addiction. Additionally, drug and alcohol abuse can leave you more vulnerable to traumatic experiences. Many treatment programs have adopted the principles of trauma-informed care to help you recover from both addiction and trauma. Ambrosia Treatment Center of Palm Beach County, Florida, is here to help you heal from both trauma and addiction. Call us today, or visit our admissions page to get started. Your life is waiting; we’ll help you get there.

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