Research shows that traumatic experiences can contribute to the development of drug and alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as two-thirds of people in treatment for drug addiction report suffering trauma as a child. Those experiences may include emotional abuse, physical abuse or neglect that can impact brain development in a way that makes a person more vulnerable to the misuse of alcohol or drugs.
Traumatic experiences contributing to substance use disorders may also occur in adulthood. It’s well known that military personnel may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result experiencing and seeing the horrors of combat. There are also numerous civilian jobs that expose workers to tragedy and threats to their own personal safety that can lead to symptoms of PTSD. Law enforcement officers, emergency medical services, social workers and firefighters see heart-wrenching sadness and at times, the worst of human behavior. Overtime, this can take a toll on their mental health, leading to depression, anxiety and substance use disorders as people struggle to cope with the stress, get to sleep at night and escape from memories of what they have seen and experienced.
Another all too common source of trauma for adults is domestic and sexual violence. Those subjected to sexual assault or violence within the home may develop PTSD or symptoms of PTSD and turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their pain and alleviate the stress and terror. Research shows co-existing PTSD is especially common among women in treatment for addiction.
For individuals suffering from the affects of trauma, dealing with past experiences, as well as co-existing depression and anxiety, helps build a strong foundation for long-term sobriety. Memories of past traumatic experiences can trigger people to drink or use drugs as a way to cope. One of the keys to addiction and trauma treatment is taking away the power of those memories to provoke a strong emotional reaction. Diminishing the potency of the recollections helps to eliminate potential triggers for relapse, along with improving overall mental well-being and quality of life.
At RiverMend Health Centers of Atlanta and Augusta, we use a variety of compassionate and proven strategies to help individuals process what has occurred, find healthy ways to manage their stress and begin to heal their body and mind.
- Individual counseling – Our addiction therapists and counselors work with patients one-on-one to provide a caring, supportive and confidential environment for expressing emotions and overcoming past trauma.
- Group therapy – Women and men may participate in female-only and men-only groups, providing a safe place to share their feelings and receive support from their peers.
- EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), is a type of psychotherapy that helps change how patients react to traumatic memories. EMDR is recommended by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
Call 1(844) 646-9313 to speak to a RiverMend Health Centers of Georgia behavioral health and addiction treatment expert. Our compassionate, friendly staff will guide you through a free phone consultation, discuss your treatment options, and schedule an in-person evaluation from a physician.