The Impact of Trauma on Addiction and Recovery

Impact Trauma

The Impact of Trauma on Addiction, Recovery and Health

Trauma is a powerful force that plays a significant role in addiction and recovery, as well as overall health. If not adequately addressed, trauma compromises mental, social and physical health. Being exposed to trauma can increase an individual’s risk for substance use, which presents an increased risk for relapse. It is essential for individuals looking for addiction recovery to be aware of and receive appropriate treatment for the underlying trauma that may be contributing to their substance abuse.

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Substance Abuse and Its Connection to Trauma

Substance abuse often has roots in unresolved trauma. When we are unable to process a traumatic experience, we are likely to produce chemicals within the brain that can lead to substance use and potential addiction. Substance use is often used as a coping mechanism to alleviate the pain experienced while recuperating from trauma.

The Effects of Trauma on Addiction Recovery

Recovery is difficult, especially without proper and effective treatment for trauma. To achieve a successful recovery, individuals must address and resolve their trauma. If the trauma is ignored, this may lead to an increased risk of relapse. Therefore, it is essential to start each recovery program with a thorough examination of what early childhood or adult trauma has been experienced by each individual.

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Strategies to Addressing Trauma in Addiction Recovery

The following are three suggested techniques for successfully addressing and processing trauma in addiction recovery:

  • Seeking Professional Help – By finding a qualified therapist or counselor, individuals in recovery can begin to gain insight into the underlying trauma contributing to their addiction.
  • Developing Coping Skills – It is essential for individuals in recovery to develop healthy coping skills to replace the maladaptive and often destructive measures taken as a result of unresolved trauma.
  • Gaining Support – Support from loved ones, friends and other individuals in recovery can be invaluable in helping to address the trauma experienced throughout the recovery process.

The Impact of Trauma on Overall Health

Unresolved trauma has long-term consequences on not only addiction recovery, but overall health as well. Chronic stress caused by trauma can compromise the functioning of the body’s cardiovascular, digestive and reproductive systems. This can lead to serious medical issues such as hypertension, depression, anxiety, headaches and other physical ailments.

Reducing or mitigating trauma is essential to living a healthy, fulfilled and substance free life. Therefore, addressing trauma should be the first step taken in any drug or alcohol recovery program. With the proper treatment and care, individuals can begin the journey to lasting addictive recovery and improved overall health.