The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction - Dual Diagnosis Arizona

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The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction & Why Dual Diagnosis Arizona is the Best Choice

Experts have put a significant amount of research into addiction, which has led to great advancements in treatment. In their studies, they discovered that many factors contribute to the disease. One of these factors is trauma, which often occurs alongside addiction. However, what exactly is the link between trauma and addiction?

Defining Addiction and Trauma

Understanding the connection that addiction and trauma have starts with knowing more about these two conditions. Keep in mind that children, teens and adults of all ages can be affected.

Addiction is recognized as a chronic brain disease that affects its memory, motivation and reward systems. The abnormal function of these systems can cause biological, mental and spiritual changes.

In general, people with addiction pursue substances or activities that give them relief, rewards or both. Eating, gambling, shopping and sexual intercourse are a few examples of activities. They can’t control their behaviors and cravings. Stopping the use of substances or activities isn’t possible even if they want to. They also develop a dysfunctional emotional response and don’t recognize problem behaviors or relationships.

Addiction is like other chronic diseases in that it involves cycles of remission and relapse. Without proper treatment and participation in recovery services, it can lead to disability or death.

Traumas are experiences that cause people to fear for their lives. They could suffer from intense pain or simply witness tragic or violent acts.

These sometimes life-threatening events trigger a fight-or-flight response in the brain that alters its chemical balance. It also increases blood pressure, body temperature, breathing and heart rate. In addition, it heightens people’s attention and focus and accelerates their adrenaline flow. This response is natural and normal, and its purpose is to help people escape potentially dangerous situations.

However, not everyone has the same resilience level to trauma, so their reactions vary. Children, for instance, have lower resilience levels than adults because their brains haven’t had time to develop to process the events correctly. Despite that, many adults are still vulnerable to trauma. Repetitive traumas such as child abuse and military service reduce this resilience.

People of all ages can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they don’t resolve the emotions related to their traumas. Anxiety, depression and insomnia can also develop. They continue to experience the stress response when the danger passes and may have flashbacks of the events. It can even damage their relationships and prevent them from doing everyday activities.

How Trauma and Addiction Are Linked

Addiction and trauma are linked because the addiction provides relief or rewards that cover up the negative emotions from trauma. People abuse drugs, binge eat, gamble or use other activities as a means of escape.

Drug Addiction and Trauma Explained

With substance use, people drink alcohol or use addictive drugs to self-medicate. The substances make the agitation, depression, hypersensitivity, insomnia or social withdrawal that they have more manageable. However, the relief is only temporary until the drugs wear off. Because of that, they continue to use drugs to drown out the negative symptoms.

With prolonged drug use, people develop substance use disorder (SUD). There are several levels of SUD, including tolerance, dependence and addiction. When any of these issues develop, they can’t stop using drugs because of withdrawal. The symptoms that arise are often painful or uncomfortable enough to make them seek relief with more substances. Eventually, the drugs don’t make them feel better, so they suffer more.

Dual Diagnosis Arizona Treatment for Addiction and Trauma

The presence of addiction and a trauma disorder such as PTSD is called having co-occurring disorders. This dual diagnosis makes treatment complex and challenging, especially if self-medicating has dulled people’s memories of the traumas. Struggling to recall the events makes it hard for them to achieve and maintain sobriety because they can’t fully address what led to the addiction.

However, dual diagnosis Arizona treatment can get to the core of the problem. The first part of such a program involves getting people sober. They can’t begin to deal with their trauma if they don’t have a clear mind. This typically begins with detox. Whether or not people need medical detox depends on the type of addiction that they have. Drug addiction, for instance, usually requires medical detox to get through the withdrawal process in a safe, comfortable way.

The next step is therapy, during which therapists focus on the source of the addiction: the trauma. A lot facilities specifically use trauma therapy. They can also use cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and other scientific-based treatments. These modalities give them the tools and teach them the skills that they need to stay sober too.

Holistic care such as mindfulness practices, meditation and yoga are also important. They help people achieve emotional, mental, physical and spiritual balance. These treatments give them ways to relax and reduce stress after rehab as well.

Seek Treatment Now

Does your addiction stem from trauma? You’re not alone. Get help for trauma and addiction at our Arizona treatment center today!


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  2. US National Library of medicine:
  3. Verywell mind:
  4. American Psychiatric Association:
  5. HelpGuide:
  6. Healthline:
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  8. American Psychiatric Association:,sexual%20violence%20or%20serious%20injury.
  9. National institute of Mental Health:
  10. MedlinePlus:

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JULY 21, 2018

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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