How Trauma Can Affect Your Substance Abuse

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When you get to the root cause of drug addiction, you will realize that most victims have gone through a traumatic experience. This may include sexual or verbal abuse, assault, or accidents among others. Therapy and spiritual guidance is one of the best ways of confronting the problem before it affects the person’s state of mind. Of course, it is human to want to forget the traumatic experience you have faced so that you can move on with your life. So, you resort to doing drugs to forget your problem. Now, that’s already a problem in itself. Understanding the relationship between trauma and drug addiction is paramount.

What is trauma?

Growing up, you may have been a victim of bullying, accident, domestic violence, or assault. These incidences often affect your physical and mental well-being. Years later, you can still replay the chain of events as though they happened yesterday. Trauma isn’t an event you witnessed. Rather, it is how you experienced and perceive an event. It gets worse in an environment where you are programmed to suppress your emotions. Truth is, most people neither understand nor accept the trauma until it starts to take a toll on them.

The Effects of Unresolved Trauma

Like any other mental problem, trauma can lead to adverse long-term issues when left untreated. The victim may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Signs of PTSD may include, changes in sleeping patterns, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and isolation. Going through these experiences may subject the person to suicide, drugs, or aggressiveness. Remember, trauma affects people differently, which is why they make irrational decisions.

The Connection between Trauma and Addiction

Most people that are battling addiction often blame it on their past life experiences. Most researchers believe that childhood trauma is one of the leading causes of alcohol and substance abuse. A child that has faced nearly five traumatic experiences is more likely to become an alcoholic or a drug addict.

From a clinical angle, repeated drug use prevents the brain from bringing the amounts of dopamine, adrenaline, and GABA into their normal state. When a person gets mixed psychological reactions such as anxiety, depression, varied sleeping patterns, or aggressiveness, their journey towards recovery becomes difficult. It becomes worse why they are facing withdrawal symptoms. As a result, cases of relapse caused by drug dependence sets in.

Chronic stress caused by a traumatic experience often leads to loss of impulse control, learning, and mental wellbeing. They will turn to drugs as a way of coping or use self-medication prescribed for the symptoms of PTSD. Long-term use of such drugs can interfere with the same parts of the brain, making it difficult to combat the stress. It gets worse when they combine prescription drugs with alcohol and drugs,

The Road to Sobriety for a Victim of PTSD

Drug abuse and PTSD have a complicated relationship that can hinder the journey towards sobriety. But with the right therapy, an individual can confront their worst fears and drop their habits completely.

Acceptance and Confronting your Fears

The decision to accept what happened in the past is the first step towards sobriety. Your loved one has been through enough, but it doesn’t mean they should lose hope in life. Their healing starts when they accept therapy and learn how to confront the traumatic events that they have been trying to evade. A recovering addict needs to trust the clinician to help them acknowledge their traumatic events.

Understanding the impact of unresolved trauma

Both the clinician and therapist help victims to understand the effects of unresolved traumas and the weight they carry. The healing process involves taking the power away from the fear and no longer allowing it to take control over your life. If left unresolved, then the trauma will still trigger the addiction thus causing more problems for them.

Holistic Approach

Most patients keep their problems to themselves for fear of being victimized. Professional therapists understand why it takes time to open up to them. The only way to hasten the healing process is by creating a supportive environment for people who suppress their feelings.


Victims of trauma don’t wake up one day to destroy their lives with drugs and alcohol. It often starts with the need to suppress their feelings, feel safe, and forget about the traumatic experiences they faced during their childhood years or adulthood lives. The worst part is, these substances only provide temporary relief to their problems. When left untreated, PSTD can cause negative long-term effects on the addict. Such people require individual therapy to restore hope in their lives. Bottom line is, trauma affects individuals differently, which is why professional help should be personalized. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction treatment, contact us today. At 90210 Recovery, getting you sober is the goal.