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How Trauma Can Lead to Substance Abuse

You are shaped by traumatic situations. Whether it’s something that happened as a child or something that happened as an adult, these experiences shape how you see the world and yourself. It’s not unusual to hear that someone who has been through a traumatic event is now dealing with addiction. Trauma frequently leads to drinking or drug abuse.

Trauma Signs

Trauma can range from physical and sexual abuse to the diagnosis of a terminal illness. People who have been through a childhood trauma can face a variety of psychological and behavioral adverse effects. 

When your mind tries to cope with trauma by burying it, the signs of the incident still show up. Following are some of the symptoms that can arise as a result of a traumatic event:

  • Mood swings that are dramatic
  • Behavior that is erratic
  • Excessive or inappropriate emotional expressions
  • Fear, worry, or anxiety that persists
  • Irritability or agitation for an extended period of time
  • Lack of self-assurance (timidity)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Trying to stay away from items that remind you of your painful event
  • Reliving the experience again and over
  • Problems in your professional life with how you interact with people 
  • Romantic and social relationship concerns

Those who have had a traumatic event as a youngster are at an extraordinarily high risk of developing a drug or alcohol addiction. However, that is not the end of the road as they can get help from treatment centers such as

Drugged woman sitting on the floor with substance abuse, substance abuse, addiction, people and drug use concept, copy space background for text.

The Link Between Addictions And Childhood Trauma

Your brain can respond and adjust to anything you experience in life because of a property called plasticity. Patients with catastrophic brain injuries can use this talent to regain tasks like walking and speech. 

Plasticity, on the other hand, explains why the events of your childhood tend to accompany you into adolescence and adulthood. They have an impact on the way you think, act, and react to people and situations. Childhood trauma and alcoholism, as well as other addictions, have a definite link.

Because childhood trauma and maltreatment may be the source of anomalies in the brain structure, there is a link between child abuse and drugs. These anomalies can lead to a variety of cognitive and behavioral issues. Cortisol and other stress hormones, which are frequent in children who have experienced trauma, obstruct proper brain growth.

Trauma can lead to several long-term mental health difficulties, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Two-thirds of all people who have addictions have had some kind of traumatic experience as a child. 

These people may also model their substance misuse and self-medication after actions they saw in family members when they were younger. 

Many people self-medicate as a result of these concerns, laying the groundwork for the relationship between trauma and substance dependence, but there are facilities like to help them get on the road to recovery.

Treatment for Trauma-induced Addiction and Alcoholism 

Detoxification, or weaning your body off the substance in a medically supervised environment, is the first step in comprehensive addiction treatment and counseling. Then, with the help of a compassionate team of addiction professionals, tailored behavioral recovery can begin. Finally, you may overcome substance abuse and trauma via trust and partnership. You’ll begin to feel empowered and strong as you acquire coping techniques other than self-medicating.

While trauma may have been a part of your past, it does not have to be a part of your present.  Trauma therapy program provides tailored treatment to provide you the tools you need to break free from addiction’s grip. Seeking help gives you the best chance of recovery by addressing trauma and addiction at the same time.

Don’t allow tragedy or addiction to ruin another second of your life. Reach out to a treatment center as soon as possible to get back control of your life.


About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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