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Trauma and Substance Abuse

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Trauma is a major contributing factor in developing and exacerbating substance use disorders. The word trauma is nearing the status of a buzzword these days and is used to describe various experiences and situations. Moreover, many people who have experienced trauma are so acculturated to it that they don’t acknowledge or recognize the effects of trauma in themselves. In many cases, it leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma doesn’t resolve on its own. However, seeking PTSD treatment in Tennessee can help. 

At Nashville treatment solutions, we understand that substance use disorders are often rooted in a traumatic experience. We endeavor to help people find and heal the underlying trauma that contributes to substance use disorder and numerous other problems in living. To learn more, contact us at 866.714.5630, and we can help you better understand the connection between trauma and substance abuse while getting you or a loved one the needed help.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Substance Abuse 

So, what is trauma, exactly? Trauma describes experiences that are deeply painful, distressing, and disturbing. It can be acute, consisting of a single event, such as the death of a loved one or a car accident. It can be chronic, like domestic abuse, and repeat over time. Furthermore, it can be complex, consisting of multiple complex and varied traumatic events.

For many people, the experience of trauma produces feelings of shame and distress. It can feel vulnerable and embarrassing to talk about or even acknowledge traumatic experiences. This leads many people down the road of self-medication. Unfortunately, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol only compounds traumatic experiences. Even if a person feels momentary relief, additional shame and trauma are inherent in developing a substance use disorder. 

In order to resolve this unhealthy relationship between trauma and substance use, it’s essential to address and heal the root causes of trauma with respect and compassion. Moreover, it’s crucial to treat the symptoms of addiction as symptoms. Substance abuse is very rarely, if ever, just substance abuse. 

Understanding the Effects of Trauma 

The effects of trauma are as complex as the thing itself. They can vary significantly from person to person depending on the nature of their experiences, genetic composition, personality, circumstances, community, age, gender, class, etc. 

The effects of trauma can look like this:

  • Avoidance of triggering places, people, and activities
  • Loss of memory, difficulty concentrating
  • Nightmares and flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased isolation
  • Loss of interest in favored activities
  • Dissociation
  • Substance abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Mood swings
  • Jumpiness, being easily started
  • Hyperarousal 
  • Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
  • Inexplicable aches and pains
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Obsessive, compulsive behaviors
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Inability to make healthy choices
  • Constant perceptions of impending threat
  • Emotional detachment from loved ones
  • Persistent feelings of depression, despair, guilt, and hopelessness

Unwinding the effects of trauma isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. Healing trauma is transformative, self-affirming work. It takes time, effort, and the support of a community of people with similar experiences, compatible intentions, and shared understanding. 

Learn More About Trauma and Substance Abuse at Nashville Treatment Solutions

Our approach to trauma healing work is as individualized as your experience. At Nashville Treatment Solutions, we prioritize individualized treatments in a community-oriented environment. We work holistically, addressing root causes and familial concerns. Our approach to the restoration of health and sobriety puts people first.

We take pride in our legacy of healing and work tirelessly to ensure that our growing community has the tools and skills they need to continue the lifelong work of healing. We value compassion and prioritize a do no harm approach to this work.

Whether you’ve tried other treatment programs without finding something that works for you or is building up the courage to ask for help for the first time, know that we’re here for you. You can contact us at 866.714.5630 to learn more about how trauma and substance abuse are related and the treatment programs that we offer to our clients.