How Past Trauma Can Trigger an Addiction

Research studies document a robust correlation between trauma and addiction. Since in scientific literature, the term “robust” describes a relationship that is statistically significant, meaning that it isn’t merely due to chance, this strongly suggests that people suffering from trauma are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

There are several theories about why past trauma can trigger an addiction, but one of the most popular ones is that trauma causes changes in the brain that make people more prone to addiction. People who have experienced traumatic events are more likely to develop substance abuse problems, and trauma can alter the way their brains process information, which can lead to impulsive decisions and risky behaviors.

In addition, trauma can alter the chemistry of the brain, making someone more susceptible to addiction. Even though there is no one cause of addiction, past trauma is a significant risk factor. After a traumatic event, you or someone you care about should seek assistance from a mental health professional who can address any underlying issues and help prevent addiction before it begins.

How Trauma Increases Addiction Risk

Depersonalization is one of the emotional problems caused by trauma. When you feel disconnected from your body and surroundings, you are experiencing depersonalization. You might feel like you’re watching yourself from outside your body or like you’re dreaming. PTSD, anxiety, and depression can all cause depersonalization. In addition, certain medications, including antipsychotics and antidepressants, may cause it. A depersonalized person may become addicted to drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings.

They may also engage in risky behaviors to feel alive. If you are experiencing depersonalization or numbness after experiencing a traumatic event, you should seek help from a mental health professional. This initiative-taking step to deal with your trauma will allow you to heal emotionally and it will significantly reduce the chances of you resorting to drugs or alcohol for psychological relief.

How Drugs and Alcohol Provide Psychological Relief

Trauma victims often turn to drugs and alcohol for psychological relief. Substances can provide an immediate way to numb pain and escape from difficult emotions. Sadly, self-medication can quickly lead to addiction. A person may begin to use drugs or alcohol more frequently to achieve the same level of numbing.

Additionally, they may find that they need to use more of the substance to achieve the desired effect. Over time, substance use disorders can negatively impact a person’s relationships, finances, and health. When you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, you should seek professional help right away. With treatment, it is possible to overcome addiction and live a healthy, happy life. Trauma survivors may be more susceptible to addiction for a variety of reasons.

Since controlling their moods and intrusive thoughts is difficult for trauma survivors, they may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, elevated stress hormones can cause debilitating arousal. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress this arousal. Even though addiction is not the only way trauma survivors cope with their experience, it is one way that some people cope with the aftermath.

Trauma-Informed Treatment Plans for Addiction

The trauma-informed approach acknowledges trauma’s role in the development and maintenance of an addiction. An understanding of how exposure to traumatic events can lead to changes in brain function and increase the risk of developing addictive behaviors is key to this approach. Consequently, treatment of addiction requires addressing underlying traumas as well. Trauma-informed approaches recognize that many individuals with addictions have been abused, neglected, or exposed to violence.

Even though not all individuals who experience trauma will develop an addiction, research has shown trauma to be a risk factor. With this approach, the underlying causes of addiction are addressed, and individuals are given the tools they need to overcome their past experiences.

A comprehensive approach is essential to breaking the cycle of addiction and helping individuals lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Get help if you or someone you know has been traumatized. Trauma can impact mental health permanently, and it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. Our counselors can help you heal from trauma, overcome an addiction, and live a healthy, fulfilling life. Call us at 844-639-8371 for more information.

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