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Is Addiction Considered a Traumatic Experience?

If you struggle with addiction, you’re no stranger to feelings of guilt and shame. You may even blame yourself for your struggles. This feeds into negativity even more. Addiction can affect absolutely anyone, and it’s not your fault. The illness is a traumatic experience in and of itself.

Definition of Trauma

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes trauma as an event or circumstance that results in “physical harm, emotional harm, and/or life-threatening harm.” SAMHSA states that a traumatic event or circumstance can also have lasting adverse effects on an individual’s “mental health, physical health, emotional health, social well-being, and/or spiritual well-being.”

Addiction Creating Trauma

We often think of addiction as something caused by trauma. While this is usually true, it can also be a highly traumatic experience on its own. Addiction is a circumstance that can result in physical harm, emotional harm, or even life-threatening harm.

When you think about your history with addiction, hurtful memories may come up. It could’ve been things you did or people you’ve seen. If you have witnessed an overdose or gone through one yourself, that can be a terrifying experience. Sometimes addiction can also bring about legal consequences. Going to jail or even going through the court system can have lasting adverse effects on a person in many different ways.

Healing Addiction With Self-Love

Many people who experience addiction harbor a lot of guilt and shame inside. This can cause a lasting adverse effect on your mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as your social and spiritual well-being. When you begin the journey of recovery, it’s crucial to learn how to love yourself through the process. Your illness does not make you a bad person.

To help, you can start to incorporate self-love and care into your recovery plan. At first, you might want to keep a journal of your progress or work through your trauma and self-forgiveness. Additionally, you can also set aside time each day just to care for yourself. Moving your body, getting fresh air, or even taking a relaxing bath can help.

Treating Trauma and Addiction Together

In order to successfully treat addiction, the presence of trauma needs to be acknowledged. According to the journal Depression and Anxiety, enhanced awareness of the comorbidity between trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse is “critical both in understanding mechanisms of substance addiction as well as in improving prevention and treatment.”

Holistic treatment that can heal both trauma and addiction together will have a much greater impact on recovery. Quality treatment programs can include therapeutic modalities like talk therapy, meditation, and breathwork, as well as detox and medication when necessary. Allowing yourself room for self-love and compassion will go a long, long way as you find sobriety and lasting happiness along your road to recovery.

Many people who experience addiction harbor deep grief and shame inside. You may not realize that addiction, in and of itself, is a traumatic experience. It can cause a lot of stress and anguish in your life. At The Guest House, our goal is to help you process, uncover, and heal your trauma. We understand that addiction and trauma go hand-in-hand, and we infuse treatment with a variety of holistic modalities to help you find success in recovery. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.