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Inpatient Drug Abuse Treatment

Traumatic experiences, especially having occurred in childhood, are linked to substance use disorders (SUDs), including both substance abuse and dependence (Khoury, Tang, Bradley, Cubells, & Ressler, 2010). To add to this, substance use disorders are also highly comorbid with other mental health concerns like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression (De Bellis MD, 2002), anxiety, and other mood-related psychopathology.

Psychological trauma includes emotional, physical, and psychological traumatic events. These can include domestic violence, combat, death, divorce, oppression, sexual violence, natural disasters, childbirth, however this is certainly not an exhaustive list.  Watch Video These events can exceed a person’s ability to cope, as trauma outcomes and responses are highly individual. In turn, long lasting effects can impact one’s ability to function socially, psychologically, physically, spiritually, and emotionally (regulation of emotions).

What are some of the long-lasting outcomes of trauma? For those that have experienced trauma, especially in childhood, symptoms can be consuming like panic attacks and depression, low self-esteem, guilt, suicidality, and uncontrollable emotions. So, using a substance may provide some temporary alleviation of trauma symptoms.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one of the key elements of addiction, including substance addiction or dependence, is the continued use of drugs or alcohol “despite experiencing the serious negative consequences of heavy drug or alcohol use.”

If you are working with a therapist, the first six months of sobriety may include focusing on coping skills. After this, you may begin moving towards unpacking some of those traumas to really get to the root of the issue.

  1. Identify a therapist that uses a trauma-informed approach (safety, collaboration, empowerment, culturally sensitive)

  2. Increase connection to society (career therapy)

  3. Focus on family, children, and community connections

  4. Heal physical components (walking, yoga, weight lifting, The Phoenix)

  5. Increase knowledge (learn how you experienced trauma, and developed symptoms)

  6. Increase coping skills (meditation, accountability partners, meetings)

  7. Spiritual connection (redefine your connection to a higher power)

  8. Explore some of these Ted Talks on New thoughts on addiction

  9. Check out these resources from SAMHSA and SAMHSA also offers a national helpline (1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Trauma Care: Substance Use

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