Working through Past Trauma

“We can all help prevent suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).”

People who experience traumatic events sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to ease emotional or physical pain. While in treatment, a person needs to work through their past trauma to identify what contributed to their becoming addicted in the first place and reveal any mental health conditions that may have developed. Healing from past trauma helps a person set the foundation for a balanced, confident, and rejuvenated lifestyle.

According to the National Trauma Consortium for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2004), “Trauma means experiencing, witnessing, or being threatened with an event or events that involve actual serious injury, a threat to the physical integrity of one’s self or others, or possible death. The responses to these events include intense fear, helplessness, or horror.”

Childhood trauma

People who experienced past trauma turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. The US National Library of Medicine, NIH states, “Exposure to traumatic experiences, especially those occurring in childhood, has been linked to substance use disorders (SUDs), including abuse and dependence.”

Childhood trauma can put a person at risk of developing a substance addiction or harmful addictive behavior. Childhood trauma can lead to deeper, more intense psychological trauma. When a child goes through traumatic events without resolve, they experience fear, helplessness, anxiety, and despair that can carry over into adulthood.

Childhood trauma can be caused by:

Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

The way traumatic stress manifests varies from child to child and depends on the child’s age and developmental level. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network states, “Without treatment, repeated childhood exposure to traumatic events can affect the brain and nervous system and increase health-risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, eating disorders, substance use, and high-risk activities).”

Past trauma can heighten depression, anxiety, and fear. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with distressing feelings from traumatic experiences. Using substances is harmful to your physical and mental health, resulting in addiction and puts you at high risk of overdose or early death.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or a substance use disorder and PTSD, you are not alone. There is no cure for addiction, but treatment is available and there is hope in recovery. Treatment can be tailored to your specific needs. Dual diagnosis treatment is available and is the most effective way to treat addiction and PTSD simultaneously for the best results in recovery. Get help today.


Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.