How Trauma and Substance Abuse Are Intertwined
It seems as if trauma goes hand in hand with addiction, just as frequently as peanut butter gets paired up with jelly. Indeed, in any solid addiction treatment program, trauma and addiction are treated at the same time rather than sequentially.
Whether in childhood or as an adult, so many people experience some kind of traumatic experience in their lifetime. Whether they know it or not, that trauma brings negative energy. In some, it’s manifested as anxiety in others it’s expressed as lack of ability to express emotions or thinking negative thoughts. These people suffer on the inside while all appears normal on the surface.
Left unresolved, such trauma can cause chaos in life and also leads to addiction. Trauma and substance abuse, unfortunately, often go hand in hand.
What Are Some Types of Trauma?
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- The loss of someone you love
- Loss during a natural disaster
- Debilitating illness, injury, or surgery
- Tough breakup or bitter divorce
- Family members who are addicts or mentally ill
While many other things can also be considered traumatic, these are fairly standard. When a child experiences trauma, they don’t fully understand how to cope. Not many, if any at all, can deal with traumatic experiences healthily during childhood. Instead, they become detached or silent about their feelings.
As time progresses and they enter their teenage years, that trauma builds up negative energy and expands. You could compare it to an overfilled balloon that’s so full of air that it could explode at any given moment.
Consider emotions as energy in motions. If a person doesn’t process the feelings and cope with them positively, the energy has no way to resolve itself except an emotional overload or breakdown. As a result, the link between trauma and substance abuse can accelerate the longer it goes ignored.
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Trauma and Addiction
Do you ever feel intense pain and self-medicate by using drugs, alcohol, food, sec, shopping or even porn as a cure? Yep, me too. I’ve been there, done it, and oftentimes still find myself reaching for something to take the edge off of all the pain I carry.
Ever feel immense pain and self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, sex, food, porn, shopping, etc.? Everyone does, myself included. Been there, done that and sometimes still find myself reaching for something to soothe the inner pain that pops up.
Trauma can absolutely foster addiction when the pain becomes too heavy a pain to bear. The deeply buried trauma from childhood causes people to do things that appear insane to those on the outside looking in. Trauma and addiction are both problematic when we are exposed to triggers, or otherwise mundane events or objects which can bring us back to a state of mind in which we are vulnerable to relapse. This is the thread that ties trauma and addiction together.
Do You Suffer from Your Buried Childhood Trauma?
Are you feeling depressed, anxious all the time, inexplicably angry, experience mood swings, live in fear, or stuck in a state of grief or emotional detachment?
If those describe you, then you might have some deeply buried pain or trauma. It’s deep inside of you, and it’s up to you to dig it out, cope with it, and resolve it. Only then can you free yourself. Yes, it is possible just to let it go.
Reach out to Get Help
When I had my emotional breakdown, I couldn’t hold back my emotions any longer. Simply put, I was a basket case. I reached out to ask for help. I could not allow the pain to dictate my life, and I made that difficult but worthwhile decision.
There are many options for dealing with such emotional trauma and long-buried pain. Seek the help of a therapist of a 12-Step group. Educate yourself on coping with trauma and addiction. Or, try all of the above. Whatever method works for you, just seize the day and do it.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong, each person has is unique and needs treatment for their specific situation. The hardest step is asking for help in beginning this inner journey towards healing your old wounds; soon, you’ll have a new perspective on your life.
Only you can do it—and you can! Start living one day at a time as you head into your recovery.
I like to say that if I can do it, then anyone can!