The effects of childhood trauma typically unfold over the years, as adults process and understand how past events triggered their addiction. Although the correlation between trauma and addiction is well documented, the information is not widely available or known. Consequently, many women do not learn about the causes of their addiction until they enter women’s addiction treatment centers. It’s only then that a woman understands that the trauma she faced earlier in life led to a mental disorder, which, in turn, led to substance abuse. While these connections may appear to be obvious, they go unnoticed because many do not realize that what they are going through had to do with yesterday’s emotional scars.
Understanding Trauma Further
Processing a traumatic experience takes time – in some cases, years. One of the reasons for this is that women will often bury the pain and suppress their feelings after the experience. They may be able to carry on with their lives. However, when these feelings are ignored or suppressed, they will eventually surface. Delayed emotional responses to a traumatic event may eventually lead to a wide range of mental disorders such as:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Suppressed emotions or mental anguish can also lead to addiction. A woman who suffers for a long period after a traumatic event may turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication to cope with depression or an anxiety disorder.
Treatment for Trauma and Addiction
A trauma therapy program provides therapy, education, and resources for women who have experienced a traumatic event. Treatment is designed to address both trauma and addiction. A specialist may assess the individual to determine their current condition.Through dual diagnosis, a therapist may identify a mental disorder associated with trauma that has triggered and fueled the addiction. They can recommend addiction treatment programs that help the client overcome their addiction and manage the symptoms of the disorder.Common treatment programs for addiction and trauma include:
Dialectical behavior therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Each program is designed to target the condition and meet the needs and goals of the client.
Why Addiction Recovery Is Essential
A woman who is struggling with her past trauma may turn to prescription medication, alcohol, or illicit drugs to relax, relieve stress, or ‘bury’ the pain. However, the longer they use the substance, the more they increase the dosage or intake. Eventually, self-medication turns into dependency. Furthermore, the substance intensifies the mental disorder and the painful memory of the trauma.Addiction recovery is essential because it allows the individual to process their trauma in a healthy way without turning to drugs or alcohol. A treatment specialist can work with a client to move beyond the trauma and get a fresh start on life.
Get Help for Addiction and Trauma Today
Women’s addiction treatment centers provide comprehensive care for both trauma and addiction. You can get the help you need so that you can move forward into a healthier life by learning more about the treatment options that are available in your area.