How Common Are Traumatic Experiences Among Those in Addiction Recovery?

How Common Are Traumatic Experiences Among Those in Addiction Recovery?

Traumatic experiences have occurred for more people in addiction recovery than one may realize. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 61% of men and 51% of women experience a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime. At least 90% of those in behavioral healthcare have experienced trauma, and those in addiction recovery are at high risk for having experienced trauma as well. Self-medication is an unfortunate yet common method for those trying to lessen the intensity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and many find that it leads to substance dependency.

Dr. Vincent Felitti, founder of ACE Study, told The Fix several years ago that for those who’ve leaned towards self-medication, it’s truly a matter of support and compassion that’s needed. He stated, “I would argue that the person using [drugs] is not using them to have a problem, they’re using drugs to find a solution.”

A 2015 study published in the journal Addiction Research & Theory involved the interviewing of 55 people in addiction recovery to learn about their traumatic experiences and how it’s impacted their recovery journey. There were many different experiences shared – stories of no trauma, stories of trauma that led to substance abuse and later addiction, stories that weren’t related at all to drug issues and more – but for those who did struggle with substance abuse after trauma, a number of routes were taken:

·    Substances made it easier for participants to avoid the problems they were going through

·    Recreational use often escalated

·    Relationships often formed with people who were involved in criminal activity

·    And more

A presentation that was prepared by the National Trauma Consortium for the Center of Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) emphasized that it is because of these very pathways that trauma-informed care for addiction recovery is critical. The more support we can provide those in addiction recovery, and the more knowledgeable we can be on individual experiences related to trauma, the greater empowerment a person will feel in achieving their goals.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.

Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.