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How Somatic Therapy Stops the Cycle of Addiction and Anger

Stress and tension from anger can linger as energy in the body long after a traumatic event has occurred. Somatic therapy can be a highly beneficial practice for releasing this energy, especially in those who struggle with the cycle of addiction and anger.

Addiction and Anger

The cycle of addiction and anger can be all too familiar for those in treatment or recovery. In fact, there have been many studies that have researched this cycle across various population groups.

A 2019 study in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion sought to explore the association between drug addiction and anger in medical school students. It says that those who struggle with addiction can have problems dealing with “anger expression” in a healthy way. Instead, they may resort to using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. This can leave these individuals in an “endless destructive cycle.”

A Dangerous Cycle

In a 2022 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, psychoactive substance users were found to have “higher trait anger scores” than non-users. The study explored the relationship between anger in individuals who were already addicted to substances. It noted that symptoms from psychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety generally decrease with treatment. Anger, however, saw no difference across a variety of population groups.

Whether an individual has experienced anger prior to addiction or the anger is the result of the addiction itself, the cycle can continue indefinitely without innovative treatment solutions like somatic therapy.

Addiction and Anger from Trauma

All too often, the cycle of addiction and anger can be caused by traumatic events that occur in a person’s life. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), anger is a common emotion that’s experienced after trauma. It says that anger can help us cope with stressful situations by “giving us energy to keep going in the face of danger or trouble.” At the same time, anger can also cause prolonged problems, like substance abuse, in an effort to deal with this strong emotion.

Anger can be present among all types of people who have experienced traumatic situations. Childhood abuse, car accidents, and natural disasters to name a few. It’s important to note here that every person’s trauma is uniquely their own. Trauma can be anything “big or small” that has had an adverse effect on you and your quality of life.

Effects of Trauma-Associated Anger

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), anger has been linked to “heart disease, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, problems with digestion, and headaches.” Long-term and unresolved anger has been linked to anxiety and depression. It can also lead people to take on risky behaviors, like substance abuse.

Anger and Somatization

A 2008 study in the Yonsei Medical Journal mentioned various research conducted over the years that has found a strong link between anger and somatization. When anger is held inside instead of processed in a healthy way, it can have serious effects on the body as a whole.

Anger can cause the body to go into “fight or flight” mode. When this mode is activated, the body will produce higher levels of cortisol that will live in the body. Somatic therapy is an excellent tool to help “discharge” these energy stores while helping you heal addiction and anger.

Somatic Experiencing

In the 1990s, Dr. Peter Levine founded somatic experiencing as a non-pharmacological treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Historically, conditions like trauma, mental health disorders, and substance abuse have been treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure-based interventions. Somatic therapy seeks to bridge the gap between these traditional therapies and body-oriented approaches.

According to a 2021 study in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, somatic experiencing, or somatic therapy, aims to target long-term somatic and emotional dysregulation of the nervous system that occurs after a traumatic event.

“Prolonged Freeze” After Trauma

People who experience trauma can find themselves in a “prolonged freeze” state after the initial “fight or flight” reaction is over. This prolonged freeze can manifest as various emotions, like anger, and it can even lead to worsening mental health and substance use disorder (SUD).

Somatic therapy aims to combat this “prolonged freeze” by focusing on the body and internal sensations. These therapies can consist of a variety of modalities, including body movement, massage, exercise, and even skin treatments.

Healing Addiction and Anger at The Guest House

At The Guest House, we aim to help those who are affected by addiction and anger with a trauma-specific approach to therapy. Our somatic therapy program includes a variety of body-oriented modalities to help you process and release stored energy from trauma, anger, and other lingering emotions.

Here, you’ll find a wide variety of both traditional and nontraditional healing modalities to help you reconnect with yourself in a safe and supportive environment. Meditation, yoga, and breathwork, for example, are great programs to complement your time in somatic therapy.

Everyone experiences their own unique struggles, so individualized support is absolutely crucial. Our individual therapy will help you create your own personal plan for healing. You’ll also explore peer support through our group therapy program. Here, you will find comfort in knowing you are not alone amongst others who have been through similar experiences.

The Guest House provides world-class treatment in a serene setting. Our beautiful 52-acre estate will help you find peace and solace while you focus on your personal healing. No matter what you may have been through in your life, you will receive strong care and compassion throughout your journey at The Guest House.

Addiction and anger often go hand-in-hand, resulting in a vicious cycle. Many studies have shown that people with SUD will have a higher rate of anger as well as a history of trauma. Somatic therapy is an excellent tool to help you heal addiction and anger, along with lingering energy from traumatic situations in your life. At The Guest House, you will find a world-class curriculum that’s filled with a wide variety of therapeutic modalities, including somatic therapy. Our program focuses on healing the mind, body, and soul together as one. Here, you will find a complete continuum of care and support on your journey of finding lasting sobriety and inner peace. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.