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How Single-Event Traumas Can Lead to Addiction

adult male sits near the window with hand to his head thinking about how single-event traumas can lead to addiction

Understanding how single-event trauma can lead to addiction can help you fight back against this co-occurring disorder. Learning more about how to combat a substance abuse issue that has its roots in trauma could save your life or the life of someone you love who is trapped in the vicious cycle of trauma and addiction. Treating both is essential to your recovery, especially if you suffer from addiction due to past trauma.

At Texas Recovery Center, we offer treatment for co-occurring disorders. We offer eye movement desensitization and reprocessing through our EMDR therapy program that assists our patients and their recovery from addiction and trauma. Contact Texas Recovery Center today at 844.230.5931 to learn about your co-occurring disorder treatment options. We can help.

What Is a Single-Event Trauma?

Single-event trauma is defined as trauma that happens to one person in a single incident. Examples of this type of trauma include a mugging, an attack, physical injury, sexual assault, and anything else threatening a person at a time. People who suffer from these instances of trauma often feel a great sense of shame that they were unable to avoid them, even when the event that would lead to trauma could not be evaded or foreseen.

In other instances, such as the death of a loved one, those left traumatized may feel shame that they couldn’t have helped their loved one or upset that they didn’t spend more time with their departed. People often keep this trauma a secret from others due to shame. Sadly, this only increases the severity of the trauma and can create other problems, such as repeat instances of a similar traumatic event. It can make a person feel isolated, alone, or even victimized.

How Single-Event Traumas Can Lead to Addiction

When a person opens up about their traumatic experience to someone they trust, and that individual tries to blame them for the event or brush off its effects, it further traumatizes them. This displays a history of further confusing the causation of the trauma and can make a person feel silly or stupid for their valid emotional response. Those negative perceptions of their emotions don’t change the fact that they still exist, nor does it deplete validity in feeling said emotions.

Unfortunately, a situation like this can create an ever-increasing sense of trauma that further pulls a person into a negative spiral. It can also cause immediate changes to the suffering individual’s body and mind, forcing them to turn to drugs or alcohol as a source of comfort and joy and, ultimately, increasing the chances of addiction.

The Effects Trauma Has on the Body and Mind

Single-event trauma severely and immediately affects your physical and emotional health. This impact significantly influences addiction and can lead to other problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma is often associated with additional mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. Often, these problems are strong enough to make a person turn to drugs to self-medicate. Drugs and alcohol can seem simple and effective in numbing trauma pain, but they often promote addiction. The effects that trauma can have on the body and mind include:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Intrusive thoughts about the trauma
  • Avoidance of people, places, and things that remind you of the trauma
  • Negative changes in mood and outlook on life
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Hypervigilance
  • Startling easily
  • Sleep problems
  • Anger or irritability
  • Substance abuse

If you have experienced trauma and find it challenging to process on your own, reaching out to medical professionals and experts like our team at Texas Recovery Center can help. Our programs and therapies can give you the tools to process and manage your trauma healthily. We believe in compassionate care and supporting our patients.

Treating Addiction and Trauma Simultaneously

When treating addiction with trauma, it is impossible to treat one before the other. Trauma and addiction are complexly intertwined, and only careful analysis and treatment of both is possible. Addiction and trauma experts will work with you to help alleviate your trauma symptoms and break the grip of addiction. A typical trauma treatment when going through a co-occurring disorders treatment will include many of the following steps:

  • Identifying the source of the trauma
  • Eliminating feelings of shame or guilt associated with the trauma
  • Managing negative emotions caused by the trauma
  • Reinforcing positive feelings and rebuilding a person’s self-esteem
  • Walking the person through the trauma and illustrating how it wasn’t their fault
  • Examining positive ways of coping with trauma symptoms
  • Helping a person gain control of their emotions and decrease their anxiety

You will also go through addiction therapy, including withdrawal treatments, a physical health assessment and treatment, psychological evaluation and treatment, and potential prescription medications. Both disorders are treated simultaneously, their severity diminishes, and the connecting cord between them is severed while recovery begins.

Find Healing with Texas Recovery Center

Understanding how trauma can lead to addiction will give a patient a better chance of success while undergoing treatment. Our professionals have the experience and compassion necessary to help you work through your trauma to begin the healing process. Trauma is a significant risk factor for developing addiction, so getting help is vital for anyone struggling with addiction.

At Texas Recovery Center, you have access to a wide range of experts ready to help you overcome your trauma and addiction. They have helped hundreds of people like you overcome the difficulties of co-occurring disorders and can give you the helping hand you need to recover. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 844.230.5931 today to learn more.

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