Emotional Trauma In Sobriety

Dealing With Emotional Trauma in Sobriety

It’s no secret that those of us who are in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction can suffer from a great deal of emotional trauma. When we go through a traumatic event, the emotions and memories of that experience tend to stick with us for a long time.

Because of this, it is usually pretty common that our drinking and drug use would be used to mask the pain of dark times and difficult memories. For many of us, dealing with emotional trauma in sobriety can make it hard to live our daily lives, let alone stay clean.

But there is hope for those of us who are struggling with trauma in recovery. Keep reading to learn more about how you can manage your emotional trauma and maintain your sobriety in the face of adversity.

What is Trauma?

What is Trauma

Trauma is more than just feeling sad or tired; it is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms our ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, and diminishes our sense of self and our ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.

Trauma can be caused by a single event, such as a car accident, sexual abuse, or natural disaster. It can also be caused by repeated exposure to stressful or threatening situations, such as war, adverse childhood experiences, or domestic violence.

Specific trauma symptoms can vary from person to person, but they often include:

  • Recurrent thoughts or memories of the event
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event
  • Negative changes in mood, such as anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions, such as difficulty sleeping, feeling numb, or having trouble concentrating

Trauma can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and life. It can interfere with our relationships, work, and ability to function in everyday life. If you are experiencing symptoms of trauma, it is important to seek help during your recovery process.

Many trauma survivors feel like they need to carry the burden of these difficult thoughts and feelings alone. However, that is just simply not the case. Seeking medical, professional help can begin your healing process in a safe and supportive environment.

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How Does Trauma Enable Substance Abuse?

For many people struggling with addiction, there is a strong correlation between their abuse of drugs and alcohol and past trauma. Trauma can enable substance abuse in a number of ways, with some of the most common including:

  • Self-medication: People who have had a traumatic experience often turn to substances to numb the pain of their memories and negative emotions. Substances can provide a temporary escape from the distress of trauma, but they can also lead to addiction.
  • Trauma-related coping skills: People who have experienced trauma may not have learned healthy coping skills for dealing with stress and difficult emotions. Substances can become a way of coping with these emotions, even if they are not effective in the long run.
  • Dissociation: Dissociation is a common symptom of trauma. It is a way of detaching from the present moment and avoiding painful memories and emotions. Substances can also cause dissociation, which can make it even more difficult to cope with trauma.
  • Addiction: Substance abuse can become a form of addiction. This means that the person becomes dependent on the substance and cannot control their use of it. Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, and it can make it even more difficult to deal with the underlying trauma.

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma and substance abuse, there is help available. There are many treatment programs that can help people address both the trauma and the addiction. With the right support, it is possible to overcome both of these challenges and live a healthy and fulfilling life.

The Most Common Forms of Trauma In Addiction Recovery

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

For many people who are struggling with addiction, it is not uncommon for them to have co-occurring mental health disorders that are contributing to their substance abuse issues. Unfortunately, trauma and addiction often go hand-in-hand.

In order to successfully recover from your addiction, it is essential to address the underlying causes that are contributing to this behavior. Some of the most common forms of trauma that often occur alongside substance use disorders include:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction are two mental health conditions that are often co-occurring. This means that people with PTSD are more likely to also have a substance use disorder, and vice versa.

There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. One possibility is that people with PTSD use substances to self-medicate for their symptoms. The symptoms of PTSD can be very distressing, including flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and avoidance of reminders of the trauma. Substances can provide temporary relief from these symptoms, but they can also make the symptoms worse in the long run.

Another possibility is that the same factors that make someone more likely to develop PTSD also make them more likely to develop a substance use disorder. These factors can include childhood trauma, exposure to violence, and genetic vulnerability.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood Trauma

Those who experience emotional or physical abuse, or any other kind of trauma during their childhood are also more likely to develop addictions later in life. Even though their trauma occurred in the past, they will often still experience intense emotions and thoughts in the present.

Long-term exposure to stress and violence can have serious impacts on the human body, causing permanent alterations to the nervous system. Those who are struggling with trauma often experience both emotional and physical symptoms, which can lead them to begin abusing drugs and alcohol as a means of coping.

Domestic Abuse and Violence

Experiencing physical or emotional abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of violence in a romantic relationship can be highly traumatic. Whether this has taken place in a past relationship, or you are currently experiencing this, domestic abuse and violence can increase the risk of substance abuse.

Having a partner who struggles with addiction can also make you more prone to experiencing domestic violence or experimenting with substance abuse. If you believe you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, help is available. You can speak with one of our representatives today to find out what resources are available to you.

What it is Like to Have Emotional Trauma

Emotional Trauma

The inability to cope caused by trauma can affect a person in all aspects of their lives and can hinder relationships, jobs, and emotional well-being. The onset of trauma can come in all different shapes and sizes for all people.

When we think of trauma, we usually think of some sort of life-threatening event such as a car accident, natural disaster,  war, child abuse, or other serious event. For people in recovery, these traumatic experiences can often shape who we are subconsciously, and can often hinder us from really progressing in our treatment program and getting back into the flow of life.

There are multiple types of events that can cause trauma in a person that range from one-time events to prolonged experiences over time. People are most commonly affected by trauma from an event if the situation was overwhelming emotionally if it left them feeling alone and helpless, if it was something that was out of their control, and if it happened repeatedly.

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with trauma is that it can be hard for others to relate to the affected because each person qualifies for trauma relatively. While one person could be deeply affected by an event, another person may not be as affected by it and vice versa.

Childhood Trauma and the Underlying Causes of Addiction as Adults

Many sober addicts and alcoholics suffer from childhood trauma. This could have been a single event or series of events that most likely play a role in the development and severity of their use. It is very common for addicts and alcoholics to come from families of addicts and alcoholics, or to have been the children of divorce, abuse, and abandonment.

While this is not the case for all recovering addicts and alcoholics, it is pretty common for us to have any range of single or multiple traumatic events at one point in our past. Emotional trauma can be extremely difficult for people who are recovering from addiction.

As we all know, we have enough on our plate with kicking our habits and trying to function as responsible human beings. Adding in levels of painful memories and mental turmoil does not make the process any easier. Emotional trauma can leave a person feeling detached, anxious, and skeptical of trusting people around them.

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How to Deal With Your Trauma Effectively

While emotional trauma can affect everyone a little bit differently, the general symptoms and side effects of it remain along the same general categories of ailments. For example, trauma can cause anxiety, inability to sleep, night terrors, depression, suspicion, and paranoia.

Experience does show that people can overcome emotional trauma through a structured program of recovery and a strong support system. Seeking out trauma treatment can improve recovery success rates and make sure that your experience healing from trauma is as comfortable and effective as possible.

Trauma Based Addiction Treatment Options

Cognitive behavioral therapy

There are many options available for those seeking treatment with a trauma-informed approach, whether they are actively struggling with an addiction or are already in recovery. Some of the most popular trauma recovery programs include:

  • Trauma-informed care: This type of care takes into account the impact of trauma on a person’s life. Options like dual diagnosis treatment, family therapy, and other services can help people to understand how trauma has affected them and to develop healthier ways of managing and coping with their symptoms.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that can help people to change their thinking patterns and behaviors. It can be helpful for people who are struggling with trauma and substance abuse, as it can help them to identify and challenge the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their addiction.
  • Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is a type of therapy that helps people to face the root cause of their fears and traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment. This can be helpful for people who are struggling with trauma-related anxiety and avoidance.
  • Medication: Medication can be helpful for some people who are struggling with trauma and substance abuse. Medication can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Support groups: Participating in a support group with other people who understand trauma, recovering from addiction, and the struggle of maintaining sobriety as a trauma survivor can help you build a healthy support system.

If you are struggling with trauma and substance abuse, please reach out to our recovery representatives for help. There are many resources and programs that can help you to overcome these challenges and live a healthy and fulfilling life.

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3 Proven Tips for Maintaining Long Term Recovery

When it comes to maintaining sobriety and a healthy state of mind, those who struggle with trauma-based issues can find it difficult to manage their symptoms. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain long-term recovery from both your addiction and the side effects of your trauma, including:

Practice Self Care

Self-care is important for everyone, but it can be especially difficult to practice when you are struggling with trauma. Self-care is an ongoing journey, and there will be times when you slip up. But the important thing is to keep trying. Even small acts of self-care can make a big difference in your overall well-being.

Some simple ways you can make self-care a part of your normal routine include:

  • Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking care of your skin and hair.
  • Talking to a therapist, spending time with loved ones, doing something you enjoy, or taking a break from social media.
  • Praying, meditating, attending religious services, or spending time in nature.

Maintain Mindfulness

Many people share common reactions to everyday stress and obstacles, and those who are in addiction recovery can find it hard to feel calm in their day-to-day lives. Fortunately, there are several ways to maintain mindfulness in recovery, including:

  • Finding a quiet place: When you are practicing mindfulness, it’s important to find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. This will help you to focus on the present moment and avoid getting caught up in your thoughts.
  • Focusing on your breathing. One of the simplest ways to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breath. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your breath as you inhale and exhale. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath.
  • Being patient: It takes time and practice to develop mindfulness. Don’t get discouraged if you find it difficult to stay focused at first. Just keep practicing and you will gradually get better at it.
  • Making it a habit: The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it will become to maintain it throughout the day. Try to make mindfulness a part of your daily routine, such as by meditating first thing in the morning or before bed.
  • Being kind to yourself: If you find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts or feeling frustrated, don’t beat yourself up. Just gently bring your attention back to the present moment. Mindfulness is about accepting yourself and your thoughts, not judging them.

Build a Support System

Build a Support System

A support system is a network of people who can provide you with practical or emotional support. It can be a lifesaver during difficult times, and it can also help you to thrive in good times. Having a solid support system is essential to your recovery.

When building a close network of trusted friends and advisors, some things you can do include:

  • Identifying the people who are already in your corner. This could include family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, or even your therapist.
  • Thinking about what kind of support you need. Do you need someone to listen to you vent? Do you need help with practical tasks? Do you need someone to challenge you?
  • Being open to meeting new people. There are many ways to meet new people, such as volunteering, joining a club, or taking a class.
  • Being a good friend to yourself first, means taking care of your physical and mental health, and setting boundaries with others.
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Get Options and Find Freedom From Addiction Now!

If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help.

We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our extensive network of treatment centers is unique in that they do not just treat the addiction, but the whole person. Many of the programs we work with offer trauma-informed care to their clients.

You deserve a chance to achieve long-term recovery from all of your ailments. Reach out to our passionate team to start your road to a happier, healthier future today!

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