Making the connection between trauma and addiction
Studies have established a close connection between traumatic experiences and substance abuse. Up to two-thirds of people who struggle with addiction also have a history of trauma. Feelings of anxiety, despair, and low self-esteem are all common outcomes of traumatic experiences. Many people find that drugs or alcohol help them deal with these intense emotions.
Changes in brain chemistry caused by trauma can also make people more vulnerable to developing addictions. Increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol generated by traumatic situations have been shown to impair normal brain functioning.
This can cause alterations in the brain’s reward system, increasing the likelihood that a person will seek out intoxicants like drugs or alcohol to achieve a sense of well-being.
Treating trauma during addiction rehabilitation
Understanding and treating traumatic experiences is essential to effective addiction treatment. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused therapy are only few of the methods utilised to treat trauma in addicts. Changes in negative thought and action patterns are the primary focus of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can be applied to the treatment of addiction by assisting patients in recognising and disputing any erroneous assumptions they may be operating under.