childhood trauma and alcoholism

Unhealed childhood trauma makes it difficult to cope when people experience emotions that are similar to the emotions experienced during the trauma. Being unable to confront and heal from a traumatic experience causes different problems for different people. Sometimes these problems include relying on alcohol to feel numb. Alcohol numbs pain, but it does not promote healing. From emotional trauma to physical trauma to sexual trauma, going through an experience like this can result in unexpected reactions and long-term effects. You might feel helpless, terrorized, or even fear for your life. At Solution Based Treatment and Detox, our therapists are skilled in helping people work through trauma in a safe, clinical environment. Breaking the cycle of alcoholism and trauma can start today.

How Does Trauma Develop?

Trauma is a psychological and emotional response to any event or experience that is distressing and disturbing in your life. Complex trauma can develop if these events and experiences repeat themselves. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, bullying, serious accidents or injuries, military war experience, witnessing violent events, and even giving birth can be events and experiences that cause trauma. What far too many people do to numb or block out their trauma is turn to substance use. This can lead to a co-occurring disorder that is considered a dual diagnosis and requires treatment for both the psychological effects of the trauma and the substance use disorder.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

Treating both addiction and mental health issues at the same time is really the best way to approach co-occurring disorders like trauma and alcoholism. More often than not, people suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and psychological disorders use drugs or alcohol to feel better, forget, and distract themselves from the lasting effects of their trauma. This type of self-medicating can lead to a dependence on substances that becomes a dangerous addiction.

Symptoms of substance use and mental health disorders – especially co-occurring -to look out for are:

  • Extreme fear, worry, anxiety, and mood swings
  • Depression and constant irritability
  • Problems with concentration
  • Feeling hopeless and thoughts of suicide
  • Intentionally avoiding friends, family, and social gatherings of any kind
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia

If you suspect a pattern of alcohol addiction in a friend or family member who won’t admit they have a problem, then you might need to seek professional intervention. Be on the lookout for these patterns around their alcohol consumption:

  • They say they drink alcohol to alleviate their depression
  • They say drinking alcohol makes them feel better
  • They are anxious when they aren’t drinking alcohol
  • They admit that they drink to cope with unresolved trauma, but they don’t think that’s a problem

How Does Childhood Trauma Impact Addiction?

Experts have conducted many studies to understand why so many people dealing with alcoholism have also had traumatic encounters in their life. It seems obvious that there is a deep connection between the two. Studies show the large percentages of alcohol abuse in those who encountered trauma in their childhood, as well as in a large percentage of veterans after they return home from wartime conflicts. Add to this that many of those who suffer cannot escape an environment that fosters their addiction throughout their life. That can be upbringing, circumstance, or chance. Eventually, the fix of self-medication does not work anymore, and it gets to a point where intervention is necessary to help individuals stop self-destructive behavior and get on track for recovery.

Contact SBT to Get the Right Kind of Help

We want to help those struggling with addiction develop the tools they need to fully recover and lead long, healthy lives. If their addiction is the result of a traumatic event – and its after-effects – then our team is ready to jump in and address each disorder that may be part of a dual diagnosis. The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. It may be hard for you or a loved one to admit that, but with the help of a trained intervention specialist, recovery from trauma-induced addiction is possible. Join us for alcoholism treatment in the following settings:

Contact Solution Based Treatment today at 833.999.1941 by calling to learn more about our life-saving intervention services and substance use disorder treatment options.

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