Substance Abuse and Trauma Recovery
Addiction and trauma recovery are fundamentally linked, so attempting to treat addiction without addressing trauma is a flawed approach. Substance use disorders are extraordinarily complex, and they take hold when you have unresolved emotional issues bubbling under the surface. What qualifies as traumatic for one person might not be for someone else, so an experience doesn’t need to be extreme or horrific to leave an indelible mark.
The most effective drug and alcohol treatment programmes focus on healing trauma and helping clients learn new coping mechanisms. Addiction isn’t a choice or a moral indicator; it’s an automatic response to traumatic events.
Beyond Dopamine and Drug Chemistry
The mechanism at work during addiction is often explained as being a result of chemicals shortcutting the reward (dopamine) system in the brain. While true, this doesn’t take into account the fact that most people aren’t prepared to risk their life and health to feel a bit better.
An inability to regulate difficult or painful emotions tends to underpin most substance use disorders. These challenging feelings can compel someone who’s been through trauma to use alcohol or drugs so they can cope with daily life.
Survival and Substance Use Disorders
Substance abuse almost always starts as a fun way of experimenting. Addiction takes hold because the brain identifies the substance as a source of happiness and pleasure for you. It might be soothing or numbing or might give you the confidence to fight through feelings, thoughts and memories.
Being inebriated gives you the release you crave from negative thinking, overwhelming emotions and an inner world that’s in turmoil. At Recovery Works, we help you find new strategies for managing these feelings and work through the reasons why they arise. There are plenty of fun and rewarding ways to soothe your anxieties, fears and sadness.
Identifying the Need for Treatment
It can be tricky to know exactly when someone has crossed the line from substance abuse into addiction. The most telling sign is that they’re using alcohol or drugs to perform a function they don’t feel capable of sober. For example, if you use alcohol or drugs to relax or to lubricate social situations, you’re on a high-risk path.
Understanding Addiction and Trauma Recovery
Trauma-informed therapy takes into account that you use drugs or alcohol to make yourself feel better. Traumatic events can make people feel threatened or unsafe, even if there’s no reason to feel that way. During group sessions, you’ll hear how your peers’ experiences have shaped their actions and learn how helpful confiding in other people is.
Safety and security are a priority for our health care workers, so you’ll build a trusting relationship before they attempt to delve into your past experiences. During the recovery process, you’ll become empowered to handle situations that might have previously triggered you to use. Additionally, you’ll learn to replace guilt and shame with self-respect and self-compassion and develop your own healthy solutions to negative feelings.