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What Is Trauma And Addiction?

Exposure to traumatic experiences, especially childhood, has been associated with substance use disorders (SUDs), including abuse, misuse, and dependency. SUDs are also highly comorbid with PTSD, trauma indications that linger, and other mood-related psychopathology. Most studies analyzing the connection between trauma and addiction have observed veteran populations or patients in substance treatment programs. [1]

Some people who have undergone trauma might have a short period where they are sad, mad, or hurt, but in time, overcome those emotions. Others might find that they suffer from different effects that remain and become disruptive in their lives. Trauma can cause emotional, psychological, and physical manifestations that are harsh and challenging to cope with. [2]

Traumatic life experience, such as physical and sexual abuse and neglect, occurs at alarmingly high rates and is considered a significant public health problem in the United States. [3]

An early traumatic experience may increase the risk of substance use disorders (SUDs) because attempts to self-medicate or dampen mood symptoms are associated with a dysregulated biological stress response. On the other hand, the early adolescent onset of substance use or abuse may further disrupt the physical stress response by increasing plasma cortisol levels, thus additionally contributing to risk for PTSD and comorbid depressive symptoms.

The connection between trauma and addiction is complex. Early trauma exposure is well known to significantly increase the risk for several psychiatric disorders in adulthood, although many who had childhood trauma exposure are pretty resilient.
The connection between trauma and addiction is complex. Early trauma exposure is well known to significantly increase the risk for several psychiatric disorders in adulthood, although many who had childhood trauma exposure are pretty resilient.

Here Are Some Examples Of Traumatic Events:

  • Domestic or family violence, dating violence
  • Community violence (shooting, mugging, burglary, assault, bullying)
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • A natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, fire, or earthquake
  • A serious car accident
  • Sudden unexpected or violent death of someone close (suicide, accident)
  • Serious injury (burns, dog attack)
  • Major surgery or life-threatening illness (childhood cancer)
  • War or political violence (civil war, terrorism, refugee)
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Causes Of Addiction

Addiction (SUD) happens when a person’s use of alcohol or another substance (drug) leads to health problems or problems at work, school, or home. This disorder is also called substance abuse.

The specific cause of addiction is not yet fully understood. However, a person’s genes, the drug’s action, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and environmental stress can all be determinants.

Many who develop an addiction have depression, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or mental distress or pain; a stressful or chaotic lifestyle and low self-esteem are typical.

Children who grow up witnessing their parents using drugs may have a high risk of developing addiction later in life for both environmental and genetic reasons.

Many mental disorders, like addiction, are better treated when you fully grasp what you are suffering from. Furthermore, like diabetes, one must familiarize themselves with its causes, symptoms & conditions for safely living with the disease. Finally, understanding trauma, depression, other disorders, and their effects on you goes a long way and helps recognize your own treatment needs.

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From Trauma To Addiction “Co-Occuring Disorder/Dual Diagnosis”

A few people trying to manage trauma effects in their lives may go to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Be that as it may, substance use, misuse, or addiction before long becomes one more dilemma in the adult/childhood trauma survivor’s life. The “fix” does not work anymore and causes undeniably more suffering to a surviving all-around individual.

The connection between trauma and addiction can be considered a dual diagnosis case as both of them need to be addressed simultaneously to avoid worsening each one.
The connection between trauma and addiction can be considered a dual diagnosis case as both of them need to be addressed simultaneously to avoid worsening each one.

Analyzing the persistent connection between trauma and addiction, anybody breaking away at recovery from addiction could benefit from an evaluation by a skilled specialist to determine whether there are underlying issues that ought to be tended to and devise a proper, personalized treatment plan. When required, various evidence-based treatments are available, including group and individual counseling, PTSD Mediation, and medically assisted treatment. The best methodology is consistently to work first on carrying on with a sober life, at that point on resolving past trauma and learning positive coping skills, through breaking the connection between trauma and addiction and tracking down a better life for what it’s worth.

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Coping with A Disaster Or Traumatic Event

Take Care Of Yourself And Your Loved Ones

Eating a healthy diet, eliminating drugs and alcohol, and exercising regularly can lessen stress and anxiety. In addition, activities as simple as taking a walk, stretching, and deep breathing can help alleviate stress. Some practical tips are:

  • Limit Your Consumption Of News
  • We live in a society where information is obtainable 24 hours a day via television, radio, and the internet. The continuous replay of news stories about a disaster or traumatic event can boost stress and anxiety and make some people re-live the event frequently. Lessen the amount of news you watch and/or listen to and interest in unwinding activities to help you heal and move on.
  • Get Enough “Good” Sleep
  • Some individuals have trouble falling asleep after a disaster or wake up throughout the night. If you have difficulty sleeping, only go to bed when you are ready to sleep, avoid using cell phones or laptops in bed, and avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol for at least one hour before going to bed. If you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep, try writing what’s on your mind in a journal or on a sheet of paper.
  • Establish And Maintain A Routine
  • Try to eat meals regularly and put yourself on a sleep schedule to ensure sufficient rest. Include a positive or fun activity in your plan that you can look forward to each day or week. Schedule exercise into your daily habit as well, if possible.
  • Avoid Making Major Life Decisions
  • Things like changing jobs or careers can already be stressful and are even more challenging to adjust to immediately after a disaster.
The connection between trauma and addiction might be powerful, but both of them are treatable.
The connection between trauma and addiction might be powerful, but both of them are treatable.
  • Understand There Will Be Changes
  • Disasters can devastate homes, schools, and places of business and worship and interrupt people living in affected areas for a long time. Sometimes, people lose loved ones or experience physical and mental injuries that may last a lifetime. Some people may also encounter a temporary or permanent loss of employment.

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Addiction and Trauma Treatment

Identifying Dual Diagnosis Cases

At We Level Up New Jersey, we believe that if the client can identify the underlying issue and treat it concurrently with their addiction treatment, their chances of a successful, relapse-free recovery are much improved. Once we can understand and appropriately begin therapy on the underlying issue driving or co-occurring with the dependency on alcohol or other drugs, clients will have reached a significant milestone and will be that much closer to lifelong sobriety.

At We Level Up New Jersey, we do not believe that long-term recovery comes in a one-size-fits-all program. Given that, upon arrival at our drug treatment center, each client will undergo a general and comprehensive physical and psychological exam with our team of physicians, mental health specialists, spiritual advisers, and nutritionists. Together, we will ascertain the client’s underlying issues to personalize the approach and, when appropriate, provide unified dual diagnosis treatment. In addition, the symptoms of the multiple disorders that can occur alongside addiction can present complex and comparable symptoms. Therefore, proper diagnosis requires a highly trained professional staff with years of experience.

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[1,3] Substance use, childhood traumatic experience, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in an urban civilian population – National Center for Biotechnology Information

 [2] Trauma Treatment – We Level Up