Can trauma lead to addiction? It’s a common question that a lot of people have. Whether you’re looking for answers to explain why a loved one has turned to drugs and alcohol, or are wondering if trauma increases your risk of addiction, the link between trauma and addiction is not fully understood.
The presence of a traumatic experience does not automatically mean a person will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Conversely, the absence of trauma does not mean the risks of addiction have completely gone away. But, there is a strong link between trauma and addiction, and understanding it can help to cope with both.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is defined as an experience that can lead to a lasting negative effect on a person’s wellbeing. There are many different types of trauma:
● Assault (physical or sexual)
● Violence and abuse
● Emotional abuse
● Parental neglect
● Bullying and harassment
● Living through natural disasters, political crises, etc.
It’s important to note that such events can affect people differently. For example, 2 people going through the same traumatic event like a natural disaster will have a different experience with some events. Though the event itself can be considered traumatic, one person can develop a long-lasting emotional or mental issue as a result, while the other can cope and move on.
Being affected by such traumatic events is not a reflection of the person’s strength or lack thereof.
How Trauma and Addiction Connect
There are actually many factors that can connect trauma and substance addiction. One common link is the need to self-medicate. Specifically, many drugs and even alcohol can help the person feel better and temporarily cope with the trauma and its effects. People can even feel liberated from the trauma while under the effects of the drug or alcohol, which encourages them to continue to abuse these substances.
However, the connection between trauma and addiction can have different layers:
● An improper brain development resulting from childhood trauma increases a person’s risk for addictive behaviors;
● Modeling addictive behaviors from parents and caregivers;
● Being pushed into a group of people where access to drugs and alcohol is made easy.
How Is Addiction Resulting from Trauma Treated?
Addiction treatment is a lengthy process that involves a complex array of different methods. The goal is never to simply help the body detox and remove all traces of the drug from one’s system, but also to build better coping mechanisms to ensure sobriety.
In the case of trauma, which has led to addictive behaviors, the patient will most likely also require therapy to help them face their traumatic event and overcome its effects. If the trauma is the reason for the substance addiction, then addressing trauma is imperative to helping them get and stay sober.The process is often challenging, but with time you can recover especially once treatment is undergone at Rehab South Africa.