Psychological trauma occurs when a person experiences a particular stressful event or situation in their lifetime. Sometimes, these individuals find themselves unable to cope with the feelings associated with trauma. This is why there is such a connection between trauma and substance addiction, as people turn to substances to numb these feelings.
Trauma comes in many different forms. It could be one major life-changing event or an experience stretched out over many years. Anything that overwhelms an individual’s level of ability to cope with stress can be qualified as trauma. While there is no set standard of what qualifies as a traumatic event, it is almost always involves some sort of violation. This can be a physical violation or a violation of how an individual views the world. Psychological trauma damages an individual’s psyche and results in several cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and physical effects.
A significant symptom of emotional trauma is the re-experiencing of the traumatic event or events. Several factors can trigger these situations, such as returning to a familiar place, a certain feeling, or seeing an individual involved. These triggers have the ability to cause unpleasant “flashbacks” and persistent feelings of nervousness. Not only that, but reoccurring nightmares, panic attacks and dissociative episodes are common trauma symptoms.
Even though an individual may be aware of these triggers, it is impossible to avoid all possibility of encountering them. Because of these possibilities, individuals may experience paranoia, irritability and agitation. The traumatic memories are a major obstacle in everyday life for someone struggling with PTSD. Different people deal with psychological trauma in different ways, but the most effective method for recovery is a trauma recovery program.
Psychological trauma presents itself in many different ways. The strong emotional and physical reactions to trauma can last days or weeks, depending on the individual. For some, the feelings may grow more severe and last much longer. This is why it is so critical to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma, including:
Because emotional trauma impacts the brain, the uncomfortable symptoms and side effects can be overwhelming. This is why so many trauma survivors turn to substances like drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. In an effort to escape the feeling associated with traumatic events, an individual may find themselves battling addiction.
Addiction temporary reduces the unpleasant feelings of trauma symptoms. People dealing with trauma often turn to substances to make them feel calm, comfortable, or even numb. They may rely on substances to give them normal feelings through life- such as stimulants for energy, opioids for happiness, and alcohol for confidence. Every patient deals with trauma differently and has individual needs to be addressed. Those suffering from both trauma and addiction are classified as having a co-occurring disorder.
Co-occurring disorders can be challenging, but with individualized treatment care programs, there is hope. By identifying the issue and treating the psychological trauma, a new path to wellness is created. In the care of a trauma and addiction treatment program, individuals have a chance for a healthier life, both physically and emotionally.