Trauma often plays a leading role in the history of an addict. A surreptitious foe, trauma can rear its ugly head practically anytime: while a person is stressed, fatigued, happy or even while they’re sleeping. In fact, most of us deal with trauma and can relate to the feelings that trauma elicits. However, not all of us cope by way of destructive behaviors or substance abuse. For the addict who “uses” to quell trauma, it can be a particularly precarious journey to reach long-term recovery when their drug of choice tends to be their primary coping mechanism.
Mountains of evidence over the years have correlated addiction rates (and the propensity to it) with experienced trauma, especially in childhood. The child who does not receive enough nurturing and positive parenting, or who experiences trauma or abandonment (no name a few) has a disassociation with normal coping mechanisms. This makes them more apt to adopt negative coping skills, which may never give them true fulfillment.
Trauma + Addiction
Although childhood trauma has staggering implications for emotional health, trauma in general is a significant precursor for addiction no matter what the age. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- 75 percent of women and men in substance abuse treatment report histories of abuse and trauma.
- 97 percent of homeless women with mental illness report severe physical or sexual abuse.
- 12-34 percent of individuals in substance abuse treatment have PTSD.
- About one-third of people exposed to trauma develop PTSD. Men report higher incidences of trauma, but women are more likely to develop PTSD.
The Elements of Trauma
For those who have not experienced life-altering trauma, it can be difficult for them to understand the mental tax trauma has on the affected person. Some of the primary feelings associated with trauma include:
- Loss of control
- Need for acceptance
Trauma and Coping Skills
In order to quell the emotional side-effects of trauma, people search for ways to compensate. For the addict, this can come in the form of substance abuse, like with drugs and alcohol, or can manifest in the form of other addictive patterns. These can include sexual gratification, gambling, compulsive eating or shopping, to name a few. However, their need is often insatiable. No amount of compensation will overcome the emotional reverberations that the trauma instigated.
It’s easy now to see how addiction may support the traumatized person. Of course, engaging in harmful or addictive patterns only silences the pain, and in most cases, only makes it worse in the long run.
Loss of Control: The Cycle of Trauma
Studies have also shown that people who engage in addictive behaviors are more likely to find themselves having a traumatic episode. This perpetuates a cycle of trauma and addictive behaviors. Thus, the only way to heal trauma, and stop the cycle of trauma and addiction, is to treat it from a therapeutic standpoint.
Therapy, Addiction and Trauma
Trauma is not something that simply goes away in time. Even for repressed memories, it can suddenly manifest at any time, and for any reason. And as “triggers” tend to precipitate relapse, trauma is an especially important thing to treat for the recovering individual. It’s a critical component of the continuum of care for most of our clients. This is why we focus so much on trauma therapy at Lumiere Healing Centers of Ohio. Our trauma team is trained to dive deeply into the history and causes of trauma.
Being able to target the source of trauma and work through it with proven techniques in a safe and supportive atmosphere has helped many of our clients move past their trauma, and give them a path toward long-term recovery from addiction. Without these healing modalities, it may be impossible for the individual to truly recover. We’re honored to provide such deep healing work for our clients as many of them suffer from trauma and the cycle it perpetuates.
To learn more about our trauma track at Lumiere Healing Centers of Ohio, we invite you to call us at (513) 909-2225. To take a virtual tour of our Ohio facility, visit: https://lumierehealingcenters.com/our-facility/.