The Link Between Trauma and Addiction in Women

trauma and addiction

At the heart of many people’s struggles with substance abuse, therapists often discover unaddressed mental and emotional health challenges that led their clients to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. One of the most prevalent of these is trauma, especially in women. What is trauma, and how can you address co-occurring trauma and addiction to start on a healthy path?

Understanding Trauma

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as an emotional response to a frightening or harmful event. Trauma can stem from a one-time occurrence like a car accident, or from an ongoing stressor like domestic partner abuse. Symptoms associated with trauma include reliving the event in the form of intrusive flashbacks or upsetting nightmares. You might also feel like your nerves are constantly on edge.

Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as a result of trauma. While you may associate PTSD with military veterans, this issue can affect people from all walks of life. It’s also essential to remember that not everyone processes trauma the same way. For example, you might feel intensely disturbed and have difficulty sleeping after a home burglary, while your partner may not find it troubling.

Trauma-Informed Care for Women

Trauma treatment designed to meet women’s unique needs takes a holistic approach to addressing what these clients have been through and understanding what coping mechanisms they’ve adapted to shield themselves.

People who have never experienced trauma may find it challenging to understand how disruptive it can be in a victim’s life. Though they want to be compassionate, they lack the context to appreciate what trauma survivors have gone through. That’s why it can be so helpful for women who have experienced trauma to find a treatment program that gives them the best possible chance of making a full recovery and learning to live a rewarding life.

What Is the Connection Between Addiction and Trauma?

Many women who develop a drinking or drug problem have lived through one or more traumatic events. For long-term trauma survivors who have suffered in silence, substance misuse may start as a misplaced survival skill – a way to mute the emotional upheaval they are feeling. However, women often move through the cycle of addiction more rapidly than men, making their health and well-being unstable after only a short period of drug or alcohol use.

Rehab programs that offer trauma-informed care respect recovering substance abusers for the pain they have experienced, and treat them as people who deserve as much happiness and love as everyone else. At New Found Life, we’ll also equip you with the tools you need to heal by teaching you ways to replace self-harming behavior with life-affirming new habits.

A Caring Approach to Trauma and Addiction Treatment

On its own, trauma is a complex mental health condition. When addictive substances are part of the equation, circumstances can spiral out of control even more rapidly. If you have been struggling to overcome an upsetting experience by drinking or abusing drugs, you need a treatment facility that offers a women’s-only approach.

For nearly three decades, New Found Life has been helping people recover in a safe, caring environment. Please reach out to us anytime you’re ready to speak with someone about starting your sobriety journey in Long Beach.