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Helping a Loved One Overcome Trauma

If someone in your family, a romantic partner, or a close friend is struggling with substance abuse or a mental health issue, it may be that the root cause is unresolved trauma. Due to this, family members or close friends may suggest that their loved one seek treatment. But how do you help someone find appropriate treatment?

Trauma, Mental Health Issues, and Substance Abuse

In order to understand the connections between substance abuse, mental health issues, and trauma, you need to understand that everything that happens to us helps shape who we are. We may not even remember, on a conscious level, what we’ve experienced. You also need to understand that what is traumatic to one person may not be to someone else.

While many of us think of trauma as one event, similar responses can develop in response to a series of smaller events. Examples of trauma include:

  • The death of a loved one, particularly if it was sudden and unexpected
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing or being the victim of violence
  • Combat
  • A natural disaster
  • Serious illness or accident

How Trauma Affects People

A woman was in a serious car accident. Now, several years later, she is unable to drive. Getting into the driver’s seat of a car is the trigger that causes her to relive the fear of the car accident and her painful recovery from her injuries. She developed a phobia as a result of her trauma.

Other reactions to traumatic events include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness
  • Disassociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Mood swings
  • Poor self-care
  • A tendency to relive the event
  • A reluctance or refusal to talk about the event
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Personality changes

Some people choose to use drugs or alcohol to numb the emotional pain caused by the traumatic event that they experienced. Unfortunately, masking feelings associated with trauma is a short-term solution to what can be a long-term problem. Substance use can grow and develop into substance use disorder (SUD).

Hope and Healing

If you or a family member are struggling with unresolved trauma and resulting mental health issues or substance abuse, the situation might seem hopeless. However, there is hope; healing is entirely possible.

When looking for an appropriate treatment center, either for yourself or for a loved one, it is essential to locate a program that will treat the substance abuse, any co-occurring mental health issues, and any underlying, unresolved trauma. If you select a facility that only addresses substance abuse, true healing will not happen.

You can encourage your loved one to get treatment by getting advice from a professional who understands trauma at its core. As you learn more about trauma, you can begin to listen to your loved one with more open ears and take care of yourself while you show love and support to your friend, partner, or family member.

If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse, mental health disorders, or unresolved trauma, we at The Guest House are here to help. Our trauma-certified therapists offer traditional talk therapy and a range of holistic treatment modalities that help people heal from past traumatic events, including conscious connected breathwork, yoga and meditation, psychodrama, and somatic therapy. Begin your healing journey today by calling The Guest House at (855) 483-7800. Help is just one phone call away.