Traumatic events can leave a person feeling unstable long after the event has passed. Sometimes trauma can cause post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD occurs when trauma and associated feelings are not resolved. Symptoms of PTSD include: sleep disturbance, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, excessive fears, impulsivity and addictive behaviors.
People with unresolved trauma often turn to alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate. this may alleviate their stress temporarily but it is never a long-term solution eventually substance abuse becomes yet another source of pain and trouble for an already suffering person. Lifestyle choices can also put a substance abuser in harm’s way far more often than the general public.
While under the influence of drugs or alcohol one may put themselves in situations which may serve to reactivate or compound past trauma. Impaired driving, being in dangerous situations to get drugs or alcohol and drugs, effects on a person’s judgment and alertness, etc. can lead to an increased risk of re-experiencing traumatic events. Whatever the cause for the correlation, the fact is that people suffering addiction very often have the additional problem of unresolved trauma. In these cases, it is always best to treat the drug and alcohol addiction first but not to stop there. Otherwise the survivor may work very hard to get and stay sober only to find other compulsions replacing drugs and alcohol.
Once recovery from addiction is underway, a person suffering from unresolved trauma will benefit greatly from trauma focused therapies like PTSD intervention, body psychotherapy which targets physiological responses, and medications for depression and anxiety therapist can help find the best treatment plan for each individual the bottom line is that resolving past trauma may require professional help but it is essential to living truly healthy and gratifying sober life.