Trauma And Addiction: The PTSD Connection

Trauma and Addiction

In many cases, people who suffer from addiction to drugs have experienced some form of trauma during their lifetime.  The trauma may have occurred during early childhood.  Or, it may have occurred later in life.

Whenever significant trauma occurs in your life, it can have a negative effect on your overall mental health. 

If you were physically or emotionally abused by family, this trauma may stay with you for many years or even for your entire life.  Living with the lasting psychological effects of trauma can, by itself, be painful. This is known as PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It is not uncommon for people with a history of serious trauma to self-medicate to cover up the ongoing psychological and emotional pain.  By self-medicating, I am referring to using and abusing drugs.

If you have found yourself in the situation of using drugs to cover up the emotional pain of trauma, such as abuse, for a long period of time, you may now find that you have become addicted.  If you are addicted to drugs, you have lost all control over your use.  You are obsessed and can think of little more than when, where and how you will get more drugs.

You can see now that the solution to your problem, taking away the persistent psychological and emotional pain of trauma by using drugs, has become a serious problem by itself. 

Now you have two serious problems, psychological damage from life trauma and addiction to drugs.

If you are addicted to opioids, such as heroin and pain pills, in addition to suffering from the pain of addiction, you are at high risk for serious illness and death.  Fortunately, there is medical treatment for opioid addiction.

If you have also suffered serious physical and/or emotional trauma in your life, you are going to need professional help to address this particular problem appropriately. 

You should plan on making an appointment to see a psychiatrist.  Or, you can go to the emergency department of your local hospital that provides psychiatric inpatient care.

While seeing a doctor for medical treatment of addiction can help with the opioid dependence problem and going to group meetings can also be very helpful, in the case of dealing with the psychological effects of serious trauma, it is important to also seek appropriate psychiatric care.

If you would like to learn more about medical treatment for opioid dependence and addiction, please call Mark Leeds, D.O.  Dr. Leeds is an osteopathic physician in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida.  You can call Dr. Leeds at 954-776-6226.

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