How Does Trauma Lead You to Addiction?


When you go through a traumatic event, it is stored in your subconscious mind by the brain to deal with it and to help you survive the same events whenever they occur again. If you go through something that seems similar to your past, your brain triggers its mechanism. It makes you remember those events. You also feel the same emotions associated with it. This is the way trauma overpowers the brain. You will never know that you are going through this again.

Trauma refers to an event when a person witnesses a disturbing event, feels intense pain or fears for their life. The levels of tolerance vary from person to person. Even though two people may have been through the same traumatic event, they still have different results. There is no specific age group that suffers from traumatic events. It is even more difficult for children to bear suffering due to trauma, especially when it is constant and frequent. It can be more problematic in the long run if you ignore it. Substance abuse is one of the most common problems that come with trauma.

Trauma and Addiction

Trauma has always been associated with addiction by many researchers over the years. A lot of people who have been through the trauma of any kind are addicted to some substance. According to a shocking study conducted on 17000 patients by the Adverse Childhood Experiences, a child who suffered more than five traumatic events is around ten times more vulnerable to addiction.

If someone experiences over three traumatic situations, they may suffer domestic violence, depression, heart disease, and STD. Besides, more than 2/3rd IV drug abusers experienced trauma in their childhood. Around 70% of seniors with PTSD are reported to be alcohol and drug abusers, according to the Veterans Administration.

How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?

It is not easy to get the link between addiction and trauma. Most people who go to a depression treatment centre in Delhi [WU1] are the ones who had trauma in the early days but didn’t get help when needed. They experienced constant and prolonged addiction and are usually left behind. In most of the cases, they had no one to care for, and hence, they suffered alone.

Hence, trauma victims usually grow up feeling vulnerable and hopeless. They tend to get involved in risky behaviors as they are not accepted. They deal with painful experiences and memories. Due to all these reasons combined, they are more vulnerable to alcohol and drug addiction to distract from the world.

We, humans, are very complex and tangled in several layers. Though events last a while, their after effects live in our memories in the form of experiences for a lifetime. Our painful experiences make us craving for alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.

How would I know if someone is traumatized?

You may not know whether you have a trauma and how your body has observed it. Children who suffered neglect or abuse but didn’t care much are the worst hit by addiction in later life. They don’t realize why they are turning to drugs and alcohol. They tend to self-medicate with substances to feel better whenever they are sad or stressed. Trauma is always at the root of all these abuses.

One thing that everyone sees is substance abuse as the root cause of all problems. They don’t figure out whether it’s trauma causing all the fuss. How would you tell if you or someone you know has ignored or curbed their trauma? Here are some of the signs to identify trauma. Ask professional for diagnosis –

  • Does the person relive the trauma?

Patients who have PTSD are supposed to relive those traumatic flashbacks. Those events surface in their mind whether they like it or not.

  • Do they have sleep problems?

Do they have a problem staying asleep or falling asleep? Do they have nightmares frequently?

  • Do they get annoyed or angry all the time?

People who have suffered trauma sometimes feel annoyed. Frequent outbursts are very common in those people as they often go out of control.

  • Are they depressed?

Trauma is one of the leading causes of depression. Some of the common signs to look out for are lethargy, sadness, feeling hopeless, and lost.

  • Do they feel disconnected?

People who have suffered trauma in the past feel disconnected and isolated. They may not relate to others easily.

  • Do they feel unsafe?

People who have suffered torture or any painful experience in the past often feel unsafe even when they are at a safe place.

  • Anxiety

It is another sign of trauma. People who have been through trauma don’t find it easy to relax or rest.

Above all those problems, they often have relationship problems. They have adverse coping mechanisms and have a lack of self-esteem.

Contact Sanctum Wellness for Holistic Healing

Don’t let your past control your future. Sanctum Wellness [WU2] is the best centre for treating depression in India[WU3] . We provide inpatient and outpatient care to heal your mind and support you to move on. We also help you deal with your addiction and break the never-ending loop of abuse.