It’s very rare that addiction forms for no purpose. In fact, much of treatment is discovering what truly lead to the development of an addiction in the first place. For many, it’s unfortunate that traumatic events have brought on the chain of events which led to addiction. But, fortunately, trauma recovery can be obtained simultaneously as addiction recovery. As a matter of fact, it’s best to combine the two recoveries because they are often intertwined. So, most addiction treatment facilities offer trauma recovery programs throughout addiction treatment to help individuals who struggle with both trauma and addiction.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is when a person experiences an event which negatively affects them physically, emotionally, or socially throughout daily life from then on. Furthermore, a traumatic event is one which can be so earth shattering that a person many not even be able to accept its occurrence. Traumatic events can be either a single event or a series of events which have taken place over time. Some examples of traumatic events may include:

  • Childhood neglect
  • Disease or injury
  • Witness or victim of a crime
  • Natural disaster
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Combat
  • Car accident
  • Child abuse
  • Bullying

The Connection between Trauma and Addiction

Whether trauma or addiction comes first, these two are a common pair. For some, addiction develops eventually as drugs or alcohol are used to soothe the emotions that come with a traumatic experience. For others, trauma occurs as a result of addictive behaviors like driving under the influence and taking unnecessary risks due to poor judgment. The fact is that many people deal with addiction. Conversely, many people deal with trauma. And, with misery comes company. So, trauma and addiction are a commonly seen pair throughout recovery communities.

What Does Trauma Recovery Entail?

First, upon admittance into addiction treatment, an initial assessment will be administered. Along with a physical assessment and review of medical history, a psychological evaluation will also be held. If, during this psychological assessment, it is determined that the addicted individual concurrently struggles with dealing with trauma, the individual will be enrolled into trauma therapy sessions. These sessions may include:

Individual Therapy: During these one-on-one sessions, individuals can express their emotions towards their traumatic experience so that acceptance and healing can take place. Also, individual counseling will work to uncover the tie between addiction and trauma so that effective relapse prevention measures can be established.

Family Counseling: When the whole family is involved with counseling efforts, loved ones can be educated on the tie between addiction and trauma. This way, healthy boundaries can be set to instill a good start to recovery efforts by family support.

Holistic Therapies: A number of holistic methods have shown much promise in the reduction of stress and anxiety, feelings of inner peace, and even perspectives of greater acceptance. All of these benefits can help those dealing with negative feelings which stem from both trauma and addiction.

Are you Struggling with Both Addiction and Trauma?

Addiction and trauma recovery are possible. Although dealing with trauma may make you feel that some days aren’t worth it, you are not alone. And, you deserve to be here–living a life free from addiction. No matter what you’ve been through or what you’ve done throughout active addiction, you can learn to love life again. The road may be long and rough, but eventually, you will see the light and come to be grateful for both your addiction and trauma recovery. Ready to take your first step on the road to recovery? Contact Discovery Institute of New Jersey today to learn about how we can help!


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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