Drug and alcohol use disorders are common in the U.S. and present serious concerns. Thankfully, professional treatment can help those who struggle with addiction symptoms. Understanding the connection between trauma and substance use may lower the risk of relapse and promote long-term recovery. Rehab centers that offer trauma therapy programs can provide patients who have experienced traumatic events with compassionate, comprehensive care.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction and might benefit from trauma therapy, contact Fort Behavioral Health. We help patients process trauma and move forward as part of our treatment program. Successful recovery can take time, but we’re here to support you every step of the way. Call us at 844.332.1807, and we can tell you more about addressing trauma in substance abuse treatment.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma refers to psychological, emotional, and physical stress individuals may experience after enduring distressing or life-threatening events. Without treatment, the long-term effects of trauma can impact a person’s mental health and overall well-being. Traumatic events include but are not limited to the following:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Combat or warfare
  • Natural disasters
  • Severe injury or illness
  • Witnessing acts of violence
  • The sudden death of a loved one

It is important to note that people respond to trauma differently. Some may experience more severe reactions than others, depending on the nature of the event and how they cope with it.

What’s the Connection Between Addiction and Trauma?

Addiction and trauma are closely related. Individuals who have experienced traumatic events are more likely to develop a drug or alcohol use disorder. Similarly to addiction, trauma can change the brain, making it difficult to manage stress and regulate emotions. People may use addictive substances as a way of self-medicating and coping with the pain of their experiences.

When someone experiences trauma, they often feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. These feelings may last for weeks, months, or years following a traumatic event. Some long-term effects of trauma include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Isolation from friends and family members

Feelings of distress can cause significant disruption in a person’s life, leading them to use drugs or alcohol to escape their emotional pain. Substance use may temporarily relieve negative emotions associated with trauma, but it ultimately leads to further problems that may severely diminish health and present threats to life.

Addressing Trauma in Substance Abuse Treatment

Not everyone who has experienced trauma will go on to develop an addiction. However, those caught in a substance use cycle may feel guilty and ashamed. Fortunately, help is possible. Professionals trained in treating addiction and trauma can teach individuals vital coping skills to improve their physical and mental health.

Addressing trauma in substance abuse treatment usually involves participation in a trauma therapy program. Counselors and clinicians in these programs may use a combination of therapies to help patients cope and experience lasting relief. One of these is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which allows individuals to identify patterns of thinking that contribute to their addictive behaviors.

Other therapies and methods that can help clients develop healthier coping strategies, manage trauma-related stress, and cease the use of substances include:

  • Traditional psychotherapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • 12-step programs
  • Group therapy

Professional treatment can provide life-changing benefits for those struggling with addiction and underlying trauma.

Start Trauma Therapy at Fort Behavioral Health

If you’re ready to start addressing trauma in substance abuse treatment, contact Fort Behavioral Health. We support patients in managing symptoms of addiction and recovering from the long-term effects of trauma. We’ll happily answer your questions and tailor a care program to your unique needs.

The trauma therapy program at Fort Behavioral Health allows clients to process distressing events and recover from addiction in a safe, compassionate setting. Reach us through our contact form, or call us at 844.332.1807 to learn more about treatment options.


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You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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