When Trauma Becomes Addiction: How Traumatic Events Can Lead to Substance Abuse

It starts out with an accident where you are badly injured. Then the pain is bad enough to require strong medication. At some point, the pain is better but the need for the drug is too strong to resist.

Now, in addition to living with the lasting effects of the injury, you find yourself addicted to the pain medication. Childhood trauma or later psychological trauma such as PTSD can also lead to drug addiction.

Admitting You Have An Addiction Problem

It is not easy to see the moment when the necessity of taking a strong drug for pain turns into an addiction. This addiction then takes over your life. Now you must get help to overcome this unfortunate side effect of your pain medication, but you can get helpful info.

There are many theories about why some people become addicted to pain medication while others do not. But, everyone agrees that addiction can ruin a person’s life and even lead to death from overdose.

If getting more of those drugs becomes the most important part of your life, you have a problem. If those drugs are causing everything important in life to start drifting away, you have a problem. Especially if you have overdosed at least once, you need help.

Childhood trauma and psychological trauma can also lead to substance abuse and addiction. Unresolved issues can eat away at a person. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can cause disruption of relationships, emotions, physical health, thinking, and behavior.

Getting Help Before it is Too Late

With thousands of people dying from drug overdoses every year, getting help is essential. Because pain from the past trauma might still be an issue, you will need specialized treatment to overcome the addiction and learn healthy ways to overcome the pain.

If the pain is from psychological trauma and PTSD, you need to deal with not only the addiction, but the unresolved trauma. Studies have shown a link between unresolved childhood trauma and PTSD and drug addiction. The treatment for trauma and drug addiction must be specially designed to treat both problems.

Look for programs that specialize in dual diagnosis. This dual problem therapy might involve detox, addiction treatment, psychotherapy, and medication. There may be a need for extended treatment to treat difficult underlying issues.

After the initial treatment of from 30 to 60 days, a patient might need an additional outpatient treatment program and after-care support.

Dual Treatment Programs

Because the trauma has been there for a long time, it may take a long time to work through with professional help. The drug addiction interferes with this treatment and must be addressed first to open a pathway to the trauma treatment.

This trauma treatment must be handled by trained professionals. The patient must be helped to get psychological relief without the drugs they relied on before. There may be issues such as panic attacks, depression, and low self-esteem.

In addition, the patient suffering from psychological trauma might have low levels of serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol. They might also have abnormalities in the brain prefrontal cortex, amygdala, or hippocampus

It is important to make a thorough assessment of every aspect of the person’s mental and physical needs and problems in addition to the drug addiction. Then, the whole person must be treated. When all the patient’s issues are treated, the chances of full recovery and a better life can be achieved.

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