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The Connection Between Trauma & Substance Abuse

In the field of mental health, it’s now understood that trauma and chemical dependency can go hand-in-hand. A trauma counselor or licensed therapist that provides trauma therapy is often consulted to work alongside an addiction specialist during treatment for co-occurring disorders involving drug dependency.

Addiction and substance abuse have the potential to impact the lives of the users and those around them in innumerable ways, some of which leave lasting traumatic memories. A person looking to sustain freedom from addiction must often deal with traumatic experiences that contributed to the initial decision to turn to substance abuse as well as traumatic experiences that may have occurred as a result of the substance abuse itself.

This article will explore the importance of seeing a licensed therapist for trauma therapy to develop healthy coping mechanisms and overcome alcohol or drug dependency. Keep reading to learn more about some of the techniques a licensed therapist uses in trauma therapy or contact Morgan Center today to request an appointment with an experienced trauma counselor in Boca Raton.

The Connection Between Trauma & Substance Abuse

Psychologically speaking, trauma is simply defined as an event or situation that creates lasting negative emotions. Trauma is, unfortunately, not uncommon and as many as 60% of all men and 50% of all women will experience at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives (according to the National Center for PTSD).

People can experience traumatic events as a victim or witness throughout different periods in their lives in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Abuse
  • Assault
  • Bullying
  • Death
  • Sudden loss
  • Violence

The multitude of ways people choose to cope with experiencing a traumatic event is equally as diverse, but the percentage of people who choose to cope by using drugs or alcohol is as high as 76% (according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network).

Conversely, the likelihood of experiencing a traumatic event is substantially higher for anyone who chooses to engage in substance abuse. The primary reason as many as 66% of all traumatic experiences are preceded by substance abuse is that, simply put, alcohol or drug use often leads to engaging in risky behaviors.

Modalities Used In Trauma Therapy

A licensed therapist that provides trauma therapy generally uses various psychological and mental health treatment modalities to thoroughly combat the negative emotions associated with traumatic experiences. Trauma therapy includes everything from more common practices, like individual counseling or PTSD treatment, to slightly more alternative methods, such as EMDR treatment or clinical hypnotherapy.

An integrated approach is the most common choice for mental health professionals as all of these methods have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of co-occurring disorders involving substance abuse. The important thing to remember is that using drugs or alcohol to heal from a traumatic experience has no real lasting value and can actually exacerbate the issue further, leading to more potentially dangerous circumstances.

The first step to recovery is recognizing when it is time to make a lasting change in your life. With the help of a licensed therapist or trauma counselor, it’s possible to escape the harrowing cycle of substance abuse and finally reach a point where maintaining a life free from alcohol or drug use is possible.

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