As time passes, the accumulation of addiction research continues to offer a more thorough understanding of substance use disorders. That’s why alcohol rehabs in New Hampshire may provide treatment programs that are more progressive than traditional options. For example, studies have approached the search for variables that could be responsible for the development of addiction. Many studies show a connection between childhood trauma or other traumatic events and developing a substance use disorder, especially in women.
The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction
Some studies attribute the connection between childhood trauma and addiction to brain structure disruptions caused by the stress of trauma. Many people associate childhood trauma with abuse and violence, but other stress-inducing experiences linked to an elevated vulnerability to addiction include:
- Having a family member who suffers from a mental illness
- A natural disaster
- A vehicular accident
Those who had experienced such traumatic things during childhood have shown an increased tendency to develop substance use disorders. They may also develop a process or behavioral addictions. In most cases, experiences that are extremely traumatic for children would be much less traumatic for adults. But there are some key reasons why such occurrences have a more significant and lasting effect on children. Because younger people are limited in making contextual inferences that would likely allow them to process experiences more effectively, traumatic events hit them harder.
In many cases, a person with childhood trauma may start using addictive substances as a means of self-medication. The addiction may result from a person hoping to alleviate the residual effects of being exposed to a traumatic experience earlier in their life.
What Is a Trauma Therapy Program?
Trauma and addiction can be intrinsically related. A trauma therapy program, which can be a component of a comprehensive addiction treatment program, aims to treat the emotional and mental health consequences of trauma.
Some people can move on from a traumatic event and not experience adverse reactions to it. Other people can experience adverse reactions years after the fact or may be more susceptible to psychological wounds. If a person can cope with a severe threat, they are typically not traumatized. When someone has issues coping after the danger has passed, they may be suffering from trauma.
Trauma therapy refers to specific types of therapy geared toward helping clients that suffer from adverse reactions to past trauma. Also called trauma-informed therapy, it’s more of an umbrella term that calls upon mental health clinicians and other professionals to be mindful of how a client’s life experiences can inform the treatment they provide.
What Happens When Someone Struggles with Both Alcohol Abuse and PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is something that develops when someone can’t get past a traumatic experience. This mental health condition changes the brain chemistry much in the same way addiction does. Often, PTSD and a substance use disorder can develop at the same time and even feed off one another. The same trauma that caused PTSD to develop can also trigger the development of a substance use disorder.
Following a traumatic experience, the brain produces fewer endorphins. People with PTSD may turn to addictive substances to increase their endorphin levels. Over time, they may come to rely on these substances to relieve all of their negative feelings. In cases like this, PTSD and addiction become co-occurring disorders that must be treated at the same time.
At a health center that offers dual diagnosis treatment programs, clients can get a professional diagnosis for both their addiction and underlying mental health conditions. Once they know what their mental health issues are, they can immediately start treating them.
Find a Rehab Program That Suits Your Needs Today
Addiction is a mental health condition that’s not only chronic and lifelong but also a family disease. It affects family relationships significantly. The same can be said for mental health issues related to traumatic experiences. While trauma can certainly be experienced later in life, the most damage it can do happens when a traumatic event happens when you’re a child.
Luckily, there are thousands of mental health and treatment facilities across the U.S. that offer many different addiction treatment programs. Get yourself diagnosed as soon as possible to figure out whether your need to get admitted into a dual diagnosis treatment program for trauma and addiction.