The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction


The link between trauma and addiction has become increasingly apparent in today’s fast-paced society. Picture a world in which traumatic experiences are at increasing frequency, and the danger of addiction grows along with them. Trauma is like a hurricane that wreaks havoc on an individual’s mental health, leaving emotional destruction and psychological wounds in its wake. It can cause anxiety, sadness, and
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), plunging people into despair. In addition, it may be a powerful trigger for addiction, interweaving these two issues in ways we are only now beginning to figure out.

The statistics surrounding trauma and addiction are staggering. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, individuals who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who have not. Nearly two-thirds of people in addiction treatment report a history of trauma. Additionally, individuals who have experienced childhood trauma are more likely to struggle with addiction later in life.

Trauma comes as a bolt of lightning, appearing as natural disasters, accidents, domestic violence, or the unexpected death of a loved one. The impact of trauma varies from individual to individual, based on the nature of the event, the individual’s resilience, and the support system in place. Read the whole article to find out how you can get lifelong recovery from addiction and trauma.

The Impact of Trauma on Addiction

Trauma can significantly impact addiction by altering the brain’s chemistry and making it more susceptible to substance abuse. For example, the brain’s reward system regulates pleasure, motivation, and learning. Trauma can alter this system by increasing the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Over time, this can make the brain more sensitive to the effects of drugs or alcohol, leading to addiction.

Research has shown that individuals who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop substance use disorders than those who have not. Several factors contribute to this increased risk, including:

  • Using Substances to Cope with Trauma

One of the primary reasons individuals turn to substances following a traumatic event is to cope with the overwhelming emotions and distressing symptoms associated with trauma. Drugs and alcohol can temporarily relieve these feelings, but substance use can lead to addiction as individuals rely on these substances to manage their emotions.

  • Heightened Sensitivity to Stress

Individuals who have experienced trauma often have a heightened sensitivity to stress, which can increase their vulnerability to addiction. In addition, this heightened sensitivity can lead to a decreased ability to cope with everyday stressors, making it more likely for individuals to turn to substances as a means of coping.

  • Changes in Brain Function

Traumatic experiences can also result in changes in brain function that can increase an individual’s susceptibility to addiction. For example, trauma can alter the brain’s reward system, making it more sensitive to the effects of drugs and alcohol. This increased sensitivity can make it more likely for individuals to become addicted to substances following a traumatic event.

The Importance of Addressing Trauma in Addiction Treatment

Ignoring the underlying trauma that may contribute to addiction can hinder an individual’s recovery process and increase the likelihood of relapse. In addition, unresolved trauma can perpetuate the cycle of addiction as individuals continue to use substances to cope with unprocessed emotions and symptoms related to their traumatic experiences.

Integrating trauma and addiction treatment can improve outcomes for individuals who have experienced both issues. By simultaneously addressing the underlying trauma and the addiction, individuals are better equipped to maintain long-term recovery and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.

A beacon of hope emerges as Augustine Recovery navigates the path of recovery from trauma and addiction. Our rehabilitation center takes a clinically advanced evidence-based approach. The devoted staff members have experience in the field and have close ties to addiction, with several of them having walked their recovery routes. When people experience trauma, they frequently use substances to cope with intense feelings and uncomfortable symptoms. Augustine Recovery recognizes the appealing attributes of these harmful coping techniques and provides a therapeutic yet encouraging setting. Our holistic dual diagnosis program addresses trauma and addiction, leading people toward healthy coping mechanisms and decreasing their need for substances.

Treatment options for a dual diagnosis include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is an evidence-based treatment that is effective in treating trauma and addiction. CBT involves helping individuals identify and challenge unhealthy thought patterns related to their trauma and addiction, develop healthier coping strategies, and process unresolved emotions related to their traumatic experiences.

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is another evidence-based treatment approach that effectively treats trauma and addiction. EMDR involves helping individuals process and integrate traumatic memories using bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping, to facilitate the brain’s natural healing processes.

  • Trauma awareness, therapy, and recovery

Therapy can include CBT, EMDR, or other evidence-based therapies. Our treatments are individualized and tailored to each person’s unique needs for the best outcomes.

  • Twelve-step facilitation

Peer support, such as 12-step facilitations, can give individuals a sense of belonging, encouragement, and understanding from others who have experienced similar challenges.

  • Gender-specific programming

We’ve built fully individualized recovery plans for people of all ages and backgrounds, ensuring that each resident in our long-term program thrives in sobriety.

  • Weekly psychiatric consultations

These professionals can provide guidance, support, and resources tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

  • Group meetings

Peer support can help individuals stay accountable in their recovery and provide a safe space to share their experiences and learn from others.

  • Fitness and outdoor excursions

Activities such as exercise and outdoor outings have been shown to benefit those seeking to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety or build confidence and social skills.

  • Integrated family program

Family involvement in recovery can benefit the individual and their loved ones. Family therapy and education can help family members better understand the connection between trauma and addiction and learn how to support their loved ones in their recovery journey.

  • Expressive and experiential therapy

These therapies use different activities to aid in their recovery. Recovery from trauma and addiction can be a challenging and lifelong journey. However, with the proper treatment, support, and determination, individuals can overcome the obstacles and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.


The Importance of Seeking Professional Help for Trauma and Addiction

Recovery from trauma and addiction may be a challenging and lifelong journey. However, individuals can fight against it and develop a happier, more satisfying life by getting professional assistance with the proper therapy and dedication. Augustine Recovery offers a secure and encouraging atmosphere for recovery and healing. Our professional staff is dedicated to assisting individuals throughout their journey, including weekly psychiatric consultations, personalized treatment choices, and continuing support.

If you or somebody you know is dealing with trauma and addiction, reach out to Augustine Recovery right away to discover more about our dual diagnosis program and how we can help you on your road to recovery.

Remember that recovery is possible, and you do not have to go through it alone. To begin your journey to sustainable recovery, call Augustine Recovery today