Substance Use Disorders and Trauma

Regardless of its origin or symptoms, trauma is recognized as a significant factor in developing substance use disorders like drug addiction and alcoholism.

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.” Trauma can happen as the result of a single event (a violent attack, a car accident, the death of a loved, etc.) or over a series of events (bullying, domestic abuse, family dysfunction, etc.).

A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) dramatically increases the risk of developing substance abuse and addiction. The National Center on PTSD estimates that as much as 75 percent of people who sufferer trauma also develop alcohol abuse-related issues. They estimate that about 10 percent of people who experience a natural disaster will wind up abusing alcohol.

At SOL Recovery Center, our clinical staff understands the profound role that trauma plays in our clients’ substance use disorders. We structure our programs to provide them with a treatment space where they can safely confront their traumatic experiences, process the trauma, and move on to a life that no longer relies on substance use to manage trauma symptoms.

Trauma and the Brain

When a person experiences a traumatic event (or a series of them), the brain’s operation can be disrupted in at least two days. The area of the brain that detects threats sometimes becomes triggered and starts working overtime. The constant state of “high alert” can lead to increased anxiety. At the same time, the part of the brain that processes memories fails to properly record the traumatic experience, which leaves the trauma victim constantly reliving the event.

The constant state of high anxiety while reliving the trauma without relief causes many victims to self-medicate in order to escape the pain.

Experiential and Psychodrama Therapy from Experts

SOL Recovery Center offers an experienced and credentialed team of treatment experts. Our customized rehabilitation programs address the root causes of our clients’ substance abuse. Together, our people and our programs can help you or your loved one learn to process trauma and start healing from addiction.

Alongside the more traditional evidence-based rehabilitation treatment methods, our expert staff provides clients with experiential and psychodrama therapies that take them beyond simply talking about their problems. Clients engage in a dynamic method of treatment where they actively and creatively engage in the process identifying problems and developing strategies to overcome them.