The connection between trauma and addiction is becoming more recognized in the addiction recovery community. When you experience a traumatic event, your brain experiences changes that require you to readjust your coping strategies. You may experience flashbacks after going through an event that your mind just can’t completely process. You might also have physical symptoms of trauma that include insomnia, digestive distress and a rapid heartbeat. These uncomfortable sensations are the result of a fight or flight response that your body generates when it feels threatened. Although they are normal things to feel, they should fade away when the threat is gone. In some cases, however, they don’t. This is when some people begin to use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their difficult physical and emotional reactions to past trauma. When you are trying to figure out how to deal with addiction as a coping mechanism for trauma, you may already realize that this is an issue that affects your sobriety. Professional addiction treatment is the bet way to learn strategies that help you move forward after a trauma.
Traumatic experiences include anything that causes you to feel as though your physical or emotional health is threatened. A car accident is an example of an event that can cause trauma. Living in an abusive situation or being assaulted is another. Many veterans also struggle with trauma that they experienced during their time in the military. It is important to understand that experiencing trauma is different for everyone. What might have seemed like a small event at the time can haunt you years later. In fact, some people don’t even realize that they are responding to trauma by drinking or doing drugs until a professional counselor helps them see what led up to them developing an addiction. When you go to an addiction treatment center, you put yourself in a safe place where you can begin to work through trauma with people who understand and have the education to help you learn the best techniques for resolving the challenges that you face emotionally.
Replace Unhealthy Habits With Positive Coping Strategies
Drugs and alcohol are mind altering substances that also affect your body. These substances are often touted as being a way to relax, and the use of them is even glamorized in the media where you might see actors using them to deal with a recent event in the plot. You might have also learned to use alcohol or drugs to cope from your family members or friends. While there is no denying that drugs or alcohol might help you feel better for a short amount of time, the effects of using them to cope eventually will affect your life. Most people need to use more drugs or alcohol over time to get the same effects. The numbing effect that these substances have on your brain may also limit your ability to process the trauma. To effectively deal with trauma, you need to have your brain working as efficiently as possible. You may also have trouble distinguishing between your physical symptoms of trauma and the withdrawal symptoms that you experience when you quit using drugs or alcohol for any length of time. Dealing with your addiction helps you to begin to focus on true healing, and this is easier to do when you are working with a trained recovery team.
A large part of addiction recovery is learning how to replace the use of negative behaviors with ones that help you to overcome your adversities. During your addiction treatment, you’ll engage in experiences that help you cultivate these useful tools for ending your reliance upon drugs or alcohol.
•Interpersonal skills-you’ll learn to rely upon and open up to others with good communication
•Mindfulness training-find out how to release the past by focusing on the present
•Distress tolerance-develop ways to distract yourself from uncomfortable thoughts or sensations
•Personal development-move past trauma through building your self-esteem
The tools that you gain during your addiction treatment are ones that you can use for the rest of your life. This can help you to cope with the current trauma that you’ve endured, and you can also use it to get through any challenges that life throws your way in the future. This sets you on a path that helps to prevent relapse.
Are you ready to release yourself from the unhealthy behavior patterns that you’ve developed after experiencing a traumatic event? Our counselors are understanding and ready to help. Call us today at 833-610-1174.