Tips for Overcoming Trauma and Addiction

Tips for overcoming trauma and addiction

Traumatic experiences can come to hold immense power over your thoughts, feelings and actions in life. Touching all aspects of your inner world as well as wreaking havoc on your external relationships. 

While some may go through a harrowing experience and be able to easily put it behind them, for others overcoming trauma is a much more arduous journey. In the worst cases, trauma can lead you down the road of addiction and the potentially fatal consequences that accompany prolonged substance abuse.

The co-occurrence of the two – trauma and addiction – isn’t uncommon either, with studies showing that “individuals with PTSD were 2 to 4 times more likely than individuals without PTSD to meet criteria for an SUD (substance use disorder)”.

Before getting into the tips for working through anything though, we need to properly define the terms.

What Is Trauma?

As defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being”.

What qualifies as a traumatic event is different for each person, some examples are:

  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce and separation from parents
  • Combat
  • Serious illness
  • Death of family member or friend
  • Natural disaster
  • Significant medical procedures 

Importantly, keep in mind that something can be traumatic for one person and have no effect on another and, also, there’s no statute of limitations on when trauma can affect you. Trauma experienced in childhood has a well-documented adverse effect in adults.

What Is Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs”.

Tips for Overcoming Trauma and Addiction – Dual Diagnosis Treatment

When you’re dealing with two or more disorders simultaneously, it’s referred to as a comorbidity. NIDA explains “this occurs frequently with substance use and mental disorders. Comorbidity also means that interactions between these two disorders can worsen the course of both”.

Given that, the best tip for working through co-occurring disorders is to treat them both at the same time.

There isn’t a silver bullet or shortcut to overcoming one and not the other because they tend to make each other worse, as mentioned. Trauma may well lead you to substances as a coping mechanism to get through the difficulties. 

As your dependency on drugs or alcohol grows you feel like you need the substance to feel “normal”. As your tolerance builds, you consequently need more and more to feel like “yourself” and avoid thinking about the trauma that brought on the addiction to begin with.

That cycle becomes dangerous quickly.

Getting treatment for only your substance use disorder and not addressing the trauma that preceded and caused it, in many ways leaves you untreated. Sure, you may leave rehab sober but the coping mechanisms you learned might not stand a chance when something triggers you to remember that prior traumatic experience.

That’s why working through them together, in a dual-diagnosis treatment program, gives you the best shot at overcoming them both and leading a substance-free life without the pain and torment of trauma.

If trauma (or any other mental disorder) and addiction seem insurmountable for you or a loved one, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center in South Florida, and we can shine more light on the benefits of dual-diagnosis treatment.

The First Step to Getting Clean: Drug Detox in Florida

First steps to getting clean in Florida

Drug addiction is something that takes hold of the body and mind.

The longer you or a loved one is addicted, the more control is lost and the stronger the dependency grows.

That’s the nature of the beast.

It doesn’t get better until you choose to get better and getting to the point that you can confidently make that choice is a big win in its own right. Once you’ve decided to commit to getting clean though, a new journey begins; the one towards sobriety.

As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

And the first step is detox.

Why Is Drug Detox Usually the First Step to Take When Getting Clean?

As mentioned, a substance use disorder is both mental and physical. In order to treat the mental side of addiction, you first have to break the physical dependency. 

In layman’s terms, detox is the process of the body ridding itself of drugs or alcohol.

Depending on the severity of the addiction and the substance, this can be assisted by medication to help mitigate the withdrawal symptoms.

Of course, detox on its own is not the end of the road. It’s not rehab or a “cure” by itself. It’s merely a step. An absolutely critical and imperative one but still just one step on the road to recovery with the next typically being inpatient or outpatient care.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it this way, “detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery. Detoxification should thus be followed by a formal assessment and referral to drug addiction treatment”.

Why You Want to Detox From Drugs at a Rehab

It’s tempting to go it alone and try to detox at home – through sheer power of will – but there are a number of reasons why that may not be the best idea.

Dangerous to Do It at Home or Alone

Simply put, it’s unsafe and depending on the substance, withdrawal may actually kill you. Detox from alcohol and benzodiazepine, for example, can be fatal if done without proper care and guidance.

With more severe addiction, it’s particularly important to detox at a rehab because medication-assisted detox is an option to lessen the effects of withdrawal.

Avoid Temptation

Withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant and that’s just about the nicest way to put it. Your body and mind have both grown accustomed to a constant supply of chemicals – a supply which increases steadily as you build a tolerance – cutting it off abruptly throws your entire system into havoc.

If you’re on your own, you could easily succumb to the discomfort and fall back to using it to get relief. 

Supervised, Safe & Supported

Choosing to detox at a rehab means you’re able to overcome the dangers of quitting cold turkey and the cravings that withdrawal brings.

How?

Because at a facility, you’re under the supervision of trained addiction specialists and supported by the staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Should any complications arise there are medical professionals on hand to administer aid and manage the situation safely. 

Everyone is there to help guide you safely through the process and get you to a point where you can take the next step in recovery which is starting to work on the mental side of addiction.

Reach Out to Us Today at Principles Recovery Center for Help With Your Addiction

Ultimately, getting clean requires cleaning out the body and detoxification under the direction and care of experts is the best way to minimize risk and maximize the possibility of success.

Reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center to learn more about our program for alcohol and drug detox in Florida.