There is an indelible link between emotional trauma and addiction to drugs or alcohol. Scarring experiences, even those that have been relegated to an individual’s subconscious memory, continue to influence their daily behaviors and choices for months, years, or even decades after the dust has settled. To achieve lasting sobriety, clients must be offered guidance in understanding the relationship between trauma and addiction and learn how to process these difficult events from their past.
At Gulf Breeze Recovery, we are committed to all aspects of our client’s physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health, including trauma treatment. Call us today at 833.551.2304 to learn more about how we can create an individualized treatment plan for you, allowing you to reclaim control over your choices.
The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD, may result from a profoundly negative event or series of events from an individual’s past that does not fully heal over time. Sometimes, these may have been childhood experiences that have been consciously forgotten or incidents that occurred in the past that continue to emerge in the form of:
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Difficulty visiting certain locations or engaging in preferred activities due to negative associations.
Such trauma can arise from many different sources, including (but not limited to):
- Sexual assault or abuse
- Physical or emotional neglect
- Poverty, homelessness, or food insecurity
- Unexpected personal losses
- The death of loved ones
- Instances of racism, misogyny, or other forms of discrimination
- Serial bullying
- Involvement in military conflicts
- Surviving a natural disaster
These incidents result in a sustained “fight or flight” response, causing affected individuals to live in a state of anxiety to protect themselves from future occurrences. The prolonged stress of living with trauma often results in an individual attempting to self-soothe with compulsive behaviors, including potential addictions to food, relationships, gambling, or any other activity which causes the brain to release dopamine.
Therefore, to cope with the resulting physical and emotional impacts of trauma, many individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to soothe their neurological system or to find an escape from an otherwise oppressive reality. Unfortunately, these methods ultimately result in more problems; even if they temporarily mask the symptoms of PTSD, they will eventually result in heightened symptoms while continuing to leave the true cause untreated.
Treating Substance Abuse and PTSD
For many clients, therapeutic interventions will be the primary means to treat PTSD. It is very common for clients to feel a high degree of mistrust at the prospect of therapy, but often this is made considerably easier through an immersive treatment program.
Mental health interventions may take various forms, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and group therapy. Clients with PTSD may also find Neurofeedback Therapy helpful, which can help correct negative thought patterns by replacing them with more positive neurological frameworks. Depending on the patient’s individual medical and mental health profiles, supervised dosing of certain anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants may also be helpful, particularly for treating other co-occurring disorders.
Learn More About Trauma Treatment at Gulf Breeze Recovery
Although challenging life experiences may have discouraged you from seeking help in the past, it is never too late to begin the healing process. At Gulf Breeze Recovery, our gentle, compassionate approach to treatment establishes the sense of safety and security required to help you focus on the true underlying causes of your substance use. Help is always available. Contact our team at 833.551.2304 to learn how you can simultaneously heal your reliance on drugs or alcohol and the underlying pain preventing you from enjoying your best life.