There’s a definite link between trauma and addiction, but that doesn’t mean individuals suffering from trauma always develop addiction. Someone could struggle with trauma for many years without ever having a sip of alcohol or touching a drug. Yet, studies have shown that trauma is a major underlying influence for those with addictive behaviors.
It’s estimated that 25-75 percent of those who experienced abuse or violence in their lives develop issues related to alcohol. Individuals who have a history of sexual abuse, particularly women, have an increased risk of alcohol and drug use. Addiction is also seen in returned veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often times, people don’t think about surviving accidents, illness, and natural disasters as traumatizing; but, in fact, they very much are and also increase the risk of addiction.
So why do these traumas turn people to substance abuse? It’s actually not the trauma that make people addicted to something or more prone to at risk behaviors. It’s usually a choice initially backed by good intentions. People want to feel safe, escape memories, feel in control, and soothe all their pains. Alcohol and other drugs seem to satisfying all these desires. It could be an appealing thought to just take a sip, inhale, or inject something to feel like everything is right again. Sometimes when life is a struggle and too painful, our vision is blurred and we might make choices out of desperation.
However, this is counterproductive because while individuals may feel a temporary sense of relief, the traumas still remain. Alcohol and drugs can only mask the traumas, but it doesn’t heal them. Addictions are also dangerous high risk behaviors. It’s damaging to our mind, body, and spirit. Overdose is also a serious reality.
So what individuals need to do is heal the fears, pains, and anxieties from within. Trauma is very delicate. There are many therapeutic options and people respond differently to different kinds of treatments. If you or a loved one are interested in healing, the best approach is to find a professional that you connect with. Someone specializing in traumas can provide guidance and insight. They will also be able to recommend a treatment plan that’s individualized for your particular needs. Even letting those thoughts and feelings out with someone is extremely healing in itself. While it may be challenging sometimes, it’s much healthier than putting something in our bodies.
At Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, we believe in healing the entire person. Not only do we have professionally trained therapists, but we have a dynamic team who works together to provide complete mind, body, and soul healing.