Acute or prolonged trauma can alter the trajectory of our lives and lead to a variety of long-erm mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and more. Trauma survivors routinely cope with their experiences by using alcohol and illicit and prescription drugs. Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions reveals that approximately 46 percent of Americans with PTSD have a co-occurring drug or alcohol abuse issue. A heightened understanding of the role that the condition plays in the development of SUD has led to the development of more and drug and alcohol rehabs that treat trauma.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is the inability to healthily process recurring or singular adverse events without reliving the experience to your emotional detriment. Traumatic experiences can take many forms; whether it’s repeated bullying, sexual assault, a car accident, family abuse, intimate-partner violence or anything else. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that trauma is the number one cause of death among Americans between the ages of one and 46. As diverse as the causes of trauma can be, the effects can be similar and significantly impact sufferers physical and emotional health, their careers their relationships and their quality of life.
Treating Co-Occurring Trauma and Substance Abuse
Although it is among the most common types of dual-diagnosis disorder, many addiction treatment organizations are not adequately equipped to treat severe trauma. Trauma victims endeavoring to get treatment for co-occurring SUD need a program that can simultaneously address the immediate physical and emotional effects of drug and alcohol abuse as well as the trauma that led to it. This is accomplished through a comprehensive course of group therapy, individual counseling and supplemental modalities that best speak to patients’ unique care needs and substance use history. Specific therapies for trauma can range from cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, art therapy, music therapy and much more.
A Two-Way Street
Trauma can either cause or result from substance. While many SUD sufferers find their way to drugs or alcohol through trauma; many experience trauma for which they need specialized treatment long after they start drinking or doing drugs. The physical and emotional health issues and dysfunctional lifestyle circumstances that SUD sufferers often face can be traumatic by themselves. Addiction leads sufferers to strange, painful and often undignified places that can leave a lasting impact on their self-esteem, ability to trust and overall emotional heath. Drug and alcohol rehab centers that treat trauma must be mindful of this complex relationship.
Trust Issues in Trauma-Related Addiction Treatment
Very often trauma is the result of a singular or systemic violation of trust from which victims find it a hard time moving on. These incidents can significantly erode trauma survivors’ ability to trust and, thus, make the treatment process quite difficult. Patients who have a hard time trusting may shut down or get downright combative because they don’t feel they can confide in or really be heard by their therapists. These trust issues particularly affect female patients, who according to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs experience trauma at rates more frequent than men (around 50 percent). Treatment facilities should be mindful of these possible trust issues during the care process.
Break the Cycle of Trauma and Substance Use Disorder
If you or a loved one is suffering from trauma-related substance abuse, you can break free and reclaim your life today. The process begins by researching drug and alcohol rehab centers that treat trauma and getting in contact today. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your trauma any longer. Hope and a better tomorrow are within your grasp.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Prevalence and Axis I Comorbidity of Full and Partial Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the United States: Results from Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions
- nattrauma.org – Trauma Statistics and Facts
- ptsd.va.gov – PTSD: National Center for PTSD