One of the reasons dual diagnosis is effective in a substance abuse treatment program is that it helps you identify mental health conditions contributing to your addiction. A common mental disorder associated with addiction is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that occurs due to a traumatic event that you experienced or witnessed. While trauma often occurs during childhood, it can also happen to you as an adult.
The connection between trauma and addiction may not be evident at first. It is only after you enter an addiction treatment center that you discover the causal relationship between the traumatic event and your current addiction to drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, treatment is available here at Midwest Detox to help you heal from trauma and overcome your condition.
Changes in Brain Development
Childhood trauma can cause changes in cognitive development as the brain learns to adapt to a volatile situation. Known as plasticity, the brain can strengthen or discard neural connections as a result of trauma. This drastically alters your mood, memory, cognition, and overall disposition. For instance, your overall worldview or self-image can be shaped by changes in the brain.
A negative experience can explain certain anomalies in brain structure that influence your relationship with drugs or alcohol. In addiction treatment, therapists often utilize strategies to help rewire your brain and free you from the horror of the past. Evidence-based treatment (EBT) may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Trauma-informed care
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
Inability to Cope with Problems
There are several symptoms of PTSD, such as:
- Irritability or hostility
- Social isolation
- Anxiety or depression
- Severe anxiety
- Self-destructive behavior
Many of these symptoms can occur at the same time, paralyzing a person emotionally. Someone who has PTSD symptoms may be unable to deal with stressful situations or conflicts with others. Instead of responding to stress by finding solutions, they may have panic attacks, detach from others, or go into a state of extended depression. Eventually, they turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their condition.
Dialectical behavior therapy can help a person learn to accept stressful situations or conflicts and manage their emotions without becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol. The client learns to become more aware of their thoughts and practice mindfulness to manage their emotions.
One of the ways that trauma and addiction are linked is by social isolation. Childhood trauma can cause a person to mistrust everyone around them. They may withdraw socially in situations where they feel threatened or when their dignity is compromised. Instead of dealing with conflict in a healthy way, someone may prefer to go and hide.
Addiction has this same effect on people as trauma but in a different way. Someone addicted to a substance revolves their life around the substance and becomes obsessed to the point of addiction or dependency. If a friend or family member confronts the addicted person, they may deny the addiction and go into an isolated state. They may hide their addiction or only use the substance when they are alone.
When combined, PTSD and addiction lead to extreme isolation. An addicted person may draw the shades, close the door, and refuse to engage with anyone for several days. Even when they are around others, their minds are consumed with negative thoughts and beliefs about their addiction and themselves.
Learn More About Trauma and Addiction at Midwest Detox Center
PTSD and addiction are both treatable. With professional help, you can manage trauma and addiction symptoms and live a life free of drugs or alcohol. To find out more about your treatment options, contact Midwest Detox Center at 833.647.0392, or contact us online. Let us help you get on the path to recovery.