Emotional trauma is often the root cause of addiction, and it is a worrying fact that is often overlooked. We have known since the 1970s that trauma often lies at the heart of addiction and many professionals have understood the role it plays. It has not been until recent years that awareness of trauma has been addressed properly. Therapists are starting to not just understand the role of trauma, but highlight it in their treatment of those with an addiction. Because of this it is now seen as a co-occurring disorder.
Research that Links Trauma and Addiction
In Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research it was noted that “A history of childhood neglect or sexual, physical or emotional abuse is common among people undergoing treatment for alcoholism and may be a factor in the development of alcohol use disorders.”
Additionally, it was stated that those who have had to deal with abuse are at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders or suicide. Statistics show that 24% of male alcoholics and 33% of female alcoholics have gone through abuse, when only 8.4% of the total population has gone through abuse. Further similar statistics highlight the link between substance abuse and trauma.
Another study was performed in children who attended schools near Ground Zero found that ”the more trauma-related factors they experienced (such as knowing someone who died or fearing for their life), the more likely they were to use drugs and alcohol.” This was a significant link with those who had experienced at least three exposure factors finding their risk of substance abuse increased 19 times. Various other studies have shown the same link over and over again. One of the most prominent studies was the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which found that ”A child with four or more adverse childhood experiences is five times more likely to become an alcoholic and 60 percent more likely to become obese, and a boy with four or more of these experiences is 46 times more likely to become an injection drug user than other children.”
Dual Disorders and Dual Recovery
At New Directions for Women, we understand that trauma is often at the heart of abuse, and that these two issues need to be addressed together. This is known as a dual diagnosis, which means dual recovery is also required. Our masters level clinicians focus on being able to identify and treat dual diagnosis by not only treating the addiction itself but also the cause of the addiction.
Awareness of dual diagnosis is increasing, and treatment is being developed accordingly. “Recent scientific studies have suggested that nearly one-third of people with all mental illnesses and approximately one-half of people with severe mental illnesses (including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) also experience substance abuse. Conversely, more than one-third of all alcohol abusers and more than one-half of all drug abusers are also battling mental illness.”
We understand that substance abuse is often a form of self-medication for women who have gone through trauma at any point during their lives. However substances can worsen this underlying condition, which means that further self-medication becomes necessary thereby creating a vicious cycle. New Directions understands that substance abuse can lead to the onset of previously unknown symptoms and that this can be highly distressing. Our treatment professionals are on hand to help women deal with these complex issues relating to trauma and addiction.
New Directions for Women is a treatment facility located in California that offers help to women of all ages, pregnant women in any trimester, and women with children. Founded in 1977, our courageous and visionary founders asked for the help of Newport Beach Junior League members to fulfill their vision of a tranquil home-like facility that would treat women with dignity and respect. Our caring admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have on getting help. Reach us by phone at 800-93-WOMEN. We can help. Stay in the loop with New Directions for Women by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.