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Why Is Substance Abuse So Common Among Victims of Trauma?


Victims of trauma can be susceptible to abusing substances or alcohol as a way of coping with their symptoms. Substances and alcohol can be a form of self-medicating as the person may be unsure of where to get help. Stigma about getting mental health treatment can also lead to substance and alcohol abuse. When people are worried about the stigma of mental health, they may not get helpful treatment.

They may feel ashamed or weak about getting professional help. They believe that they can recover on their own. Without any resources available to them, they might turn to alcohol or other substances for relief from their symptoms. While these substances may provide temporary relief, addiction can create a whole new set of problems for the person in recovery.

Recovery from trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult for most people to handle alone. The emotions and feelings behind trauma and PTSD are often complex. The complexity of how trauma and PTSD affect people makes self-treatment very difficult. Some people may not even recognize the patterns of behavior that they exhibit.

For those using alcohol and substances for temporary relief, the underlying issues never go away. Unfortunately, self-medicating with alcohol and substances often leads to addiction as the person’s tolerance to substances increases, while their symptoms remain the same. Recovery can be difficult and challenging.

We have to face painful emotions along the way. We have to revisit painful and disturbing memories to move past them. Often, alcohol and substances are used as a way of avoiding our complex and painful emotions.

Have you suffered from trauma in your life and use alcohol or substances to cope with your emotional pain? Do you find recovery difficult due to the painful memories of the past? Do you use substances or alcohol to numb the pain? While we might be tempted to drink or use to feel some relief from our past, this relief is only temporary. As we build a tolerance to alcohol and substances, we require more and more to have the same effect. If we do not deal with the issues underlying substance use; however, healing will be difficult, if not, impossible. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction due to underlying trauma, call The Guest House today at (855) 483-7800 for information on how our program can help!