Trauma and Addiction

Many people who have substance use disorders have experienced trauma as children or adults, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Substance abuse is known to predispose people to higher rates of traumas, such as dangerous situations and accidents, while under the influence and as a result of the lifestyle associated with substance abuse.

A person presenting with both trauma and substance abuse issues can have a variety of other difficult life problems that commonly accompany these disorders, such as other psychological symptoms or mental disorders, poverty, homelessness, increased risk of HIV and other infections, and lack of social support. Many individuals who seek treatment for substance use disorders have histories of one or more traumas.

More than half of women seeking substance abuse treatment report one or more lifetime traumas and a significant number of clients in inpatient treatment also have subclinical traumatic stress symptoms or posttraumatic stress disorder.

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