Connection Between Trauma And Addiction

Most people who struggle with addiction also struggle with mental health disorders that have heavily impacted their drug use. If someone is experiencing emotional or mental distress, they might turn to drugs to cope, stemming from trauma. Trauma and substance use often go hand-in-hand, as trauma informs how you handle emotional and mental stress. 

If you have experienced more wrongdoings and trauma throughout your life, there is a chance that you didn’t learn how to properly cope with adverse events as a child. These events can lead to a person self-medicating, which is when they attempt to feel better through substances. Most substances allow a person to “get away” from the reality of their situations, which for some is how they learned to cope with emotions.

It’s essential to recognize how trauma and addiction work together so that you can offer proper treatment to those in need.

What Is Addiction?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is what an addiction stems from. Abusing substances daily, even though they are causing rifts in your life, is what classifies an addiction, especially when you cannot control your usage of it. A person’s brain structure will be altered when they have an addiction, causing intense cravings, abnormal movements, and personality changes. 

You become somewhat obsessed with the substance you are using, unable to stop yourself from using it, and not function without it. Your brain and body will adjust to the substance and accept it as normal so that when you go without it, you will begin to feel ill. Addiction is a vicious disease that controls your behaviors and limits your ability to succeed. Those who struggle with addiction often need support as it’s challenging to recover from substance use disorder alone.

Many things can lead to addiction, making it more likely that you suffer from it. Addictive personality behaviors can run in families, so if you have a loved one who struggles with substance use disorder, you might be at a higher risk of abusing substances you use. Some people become addicted to substances after being prescribed medications like opioids for pain. There doesn’t have to be trauma to have substance use disorder, but it’s often found linked together, which is important to know when understanding you or a loved one’s addiction. 

Let’s Talk About Trauma

When we think of trauma, we often think about a really horrific, gory, close-to-death experience that someone might have. This can indeed be an example of trauma, but trauma doesn’t have to be so dramatic for it to have a long-lasting negative effect on a person. 

Trauma is an emotional response to a horrific event. Different individuals will have a different definition of what “horrific” is. Some people will experience shock, denial, and confusion immediately after the event and might experience panic attacks. In addition, they may experience flashbacks, emotional distress, headaches, or insomnia. You can experience a traumatic event at any point in your life and then develop different issues because of it. No two people will experience the same trauma as well as have the same reaction to it. 

Some ways you can develop trauma are:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Car accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Verbal abuse
  • Parental neglect
  • Chronic disease

People learn to cope in different ways, and not all of them are healthy. Finding comfort in substances is often one method of coping that works for those who are dealing with a lot of emotional distress. At least 62% of people have experienced a traumatic childhood event. Still, those who have trauma after trauma piled on top of them are more likely to develop a substance use disorder as there is never any moment for peace to reestablish and recuperate from the last event. 

Addiction and Trauma Working Together

Those that have experienced lots of trauma throughout their lives often experience more emotional distress that they don’t know how to deal with. These emotions can be overwhelming and lead to different mental disorders that require treatment but can be hard to get. When you experience trauma, how the situation is handled afterward can also impact the way that you learn to cope. Finding a way to feel pleasure when much of your experience is related to pain and trauma can relieve and allow people to escape their reality. 

Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of these horrific events. People with PTSD experience flashbacks, panic attacks, and other physical symptoms when reminded of their trauma. It’s believed that if you have PTSD, you are three times as likely to abuse substances than someone without it. 

This is why many people who have experienced trauma end up misusing substances. The momentary pleasure that using drugs has on people is much greater than what they are used to feeling. For some people, using substances is a way to forget about the trauma they have experienced, and for others, it’s to achieve a certain level of happiness that they aren’t used to. No matter why someone uses it and no matter what they’ve gone through, they deserve to get better and receive help for their disorders. 

How To Treat Addiction and Trauma

When it comes to treating trauma-related addiction, you cannot treat one without the other. The two are working together, constantly encouraging the other. Professional addiction treatment is recommended for those struggling with trauma and substance use disorder because they need to be treated together. There needs to be a more personalized approach to the treatment. 

For you to work on your substance use disorder, you must heal from past traumas. This doesn’t mean forgetting they ever happened and moving on from them, but instead finding ways to cope with their reality. By going through cognitive and behavioral therapy programs, you can begin to unpack the traumas in your life and figure out how to make changes. Once you have dived into your past trauma and understood them better, with the help of professionals, you can look into the intersection of addiction.

Everyone experiences trauma and is impacted by substance use disorder differently. Finding a recovery center that works with you can be difficult. Soba Recovery can help make an individualized approach to treatment, offers detoxification methods, group therapy sessions, and provides unconditional support that will genuinely benefit you in the long run. We have everything you need to be successful in dealing with your trauma and your addiction.

Soba Recovery Centers

Soba Recovery Centers are located in both Mesa, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas. We offer detoxification, inpatient, outpatient, sober living programs to people dealing with substance use disorder. We want to pinpoint exactly what impacts your addiction so that we can efficiently treat you

We offer group therapy, individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical activities like yoga and meditation to help treat your individual needs. At Soba Recovery, there is something for everyone. Your trauma should not hold back on progress to be made on your addiction, and they should be dealt with at the same time.

Consider reaching out to a representative to talk about how Soba could be right for you!

 

Sources:

What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatric Association

Trauma and Shock | American Psychological Association 

What is Trauma? | Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center

PTSD & Addiction | PTSD Alliance  

How to Help Your Addicted Spouse

Your love for your spouse does not dissipate when they are dealing with addiction. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) can affect anybody and those who are struggling with SUD need support from the ones that love them most. You may not understand what your spouse is going through when they are dealing with addiction, but there are ways that you can help them and keep yourself safe at the same time. 

Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorder is a disease that affects the brain and causes the inability to control the use of substances, such as alcohol and opioids. There are signs that can show in your spouse who is dealing with substance use disorder. The symptoms of substance use disorder can be grouped into four categories:

  • Lack of Control: Seeing your partner go through strong urges and cravings with the inability to cut back on using the substance.
  • Social Problems: When your partner is no longer participating how they normally would in public settings. They can end up letting the substance use interfere with their work, home, and social life.
  • Riskiness: Your partner begins using substances in situations that are known to be dangerous, for example, drefusing to get out of a car when they are under the influence.
  • Drug Effects: Your partner may begin to need more of the substance to get the same effects, meaning that their tolerance to the substance goes up. Your spouse might also begin to show symptoms of withdrawals during periods where they have not used for more time than they are used to. Withdrawal symptoms can start within hours of not having had the substance.

There are other signs that your spouse might be dealing with addiction if:

  • Your spouse breaks promises to not drink when out with friends;
  • There is extensive partying that does not involve you;
  • Money has been going missing more frequently;
  • Your spouse has not been able to hold down a job; or
  • They are putting your children’s life at risk with extreme behaviors.

If you believe that your spouse might be dealing with addiction, there are ways to help and be supportive during this stressful time. There are also ways to protect yourself and your family from the harm that substance use disorder can bring. Again, loving your spouse through the struggle they are having is essential in their recovery, but you can love your spouse without enabling their addiction. 

Dealing With An Addicted Spouse

You might be wondering what the first steps are to beginning to deal with your spouse’s substance use. It’s a scary conversation to have, especially because many people with SUD are in denial about their addiction, and don’t trust that they can change their lives around. 

Some spouses might be defensive and reject any solutions you provide at the beginning, but by showing that you are there for them, you can help by showing them they are not alone. There are a few things you should do while dealing with your spouse’s addiction:

  • Learn as much as you can about substance use disorder and addiction. Knowing the signs and facts can help you support your spouse better.
  • Reach out to friends and family that you trust to support you. You don’t need to be alone when caring for your spouse! If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to friends and family quite yet, reaching out to your family doctor is the easiest way for confidential support and help. 
  • Take care of yourself and children (if you have them). Being with someone who is suffering from addiction can be exhausting, and it’s no help to them if you are neglecting taking care of yourself. 

It’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are plenty of people who are out there that want to help you while you help your spouse. 

Ways to Help

If you are reading this article, then you are already helping your spouse. You care enough to do the research and are willing to put in the work to help get your spouse back to the person you fell in love with, someone who is healthy, happy, and more importantly, no longer harming themselves and the ones they love. Here are a few ways you can help your spouse during their recovery:

  • One of the first steps is to help to get them into inpatient or outpatient treatment. Depending on your spouse’s substance use, being an inpatient may be more beneficial by taking them out of the environment that they aren’t thriving in and putting them somewhere where the focus is on recovery.
  • Support your spouse by attending recovery programs with them, such as a 12-Step Program, after they come out of their detox program. Showing your support by showing up to these meetings help to let your spouse know that you believe in them, and it also holds them to some sort of accountability. They can’t skip out on going if you are there with them.
  • Learn about enabling, and then make sure you don’t do it. Enabling someone with substance use disorder looks like making excuses for their behaviors or lying about their behaviour to others. You aren’t helping them by allowing them to neglect their responsibilities, and you definitely aren’t helping yourself by allowing them to continue to use.

Most of the substance use recovery process is on the person struggling with it, but it is extremely helpful when your spouse is supportive. 

Protecting Yourself

It’s essential that when helping your spouse with substance use disorder, you are still putting yourself first. Your health, mental stability, and safety should be maintained as your first concern. You can’t help your spouse if you find that you are losing yourself in the process. 

If your spouse becomes violent with you when you bring up their substance use disorder, or if they have a pattern of being violent while under the influence, then you need to recognize that your safety is more important than you staying in that situation. If there are children involved, you should also protect the children from experiencing the effects of substance use. 

If you find that the substance use your partner is experiencing is beginning to rub off on you, where you are using drugs or alcohol more to fit in and to ignore the damage and destruction that is being done, please seek out professional help. Confiding in family and friends can also help to ensure that you are safe. Having a place to go if you need to leave your spouse for periods of time is critical, and your loved ones want you to be safe.

Bringing Your Spouse to SOBA Recovery Centers

Here at Soba Recovery, we know that there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction. That’s why we tailor all of our programs to meet specific needs. We can help your spouse achieve the freedom they’ve always wanted. We offer both inpatient and outpatient services to find what’s best for your spouse and your family. 

Reach out to a member of our team today and ask about our individualized treatment plans. Take back your life with a rehabilitation center that truly cares about your recovery needs.

 

Sources:

Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) | Mayo Clinic

What Is Addiction? | American Psychiatry Association

Substance Abuse and Intimate Relationships | AAMFT