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How Trauma Impacts Alcohol Abuse

a person sits on the edge of a bed looking out a window to show trauma and alcohol abuse

Trauma and substance abuse impact millions of Americans from all walks of life and frequently co-occur. Trauma is the emotional response to experiencing or witnessing a distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms a person’s coping ability. When trauma is not adequately addressed and treated, it can devastate a person’s physical, cognitive, psychological, and social well-being. Many people living with trauma turn to alcohol to self-medicate.

On their own, trauma and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be challenging to treat. When they co-occur, the symptoms of each overlap and compound. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset’s alcohol detox center in Cohasset, MA, utilizes an integrative approach to treating co-occurring trauma and alcohol abuse. Call 866.931.6429 and speak with an admissions counselor to learn more.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Alcohol Abuse

Trauma and alcohol abuse are interconnected issues that frequently co-occur and exacerbate one another. Trauma can stem from physical or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, combat, natural disasters, accidents, or any event threatening a person’s safety and well-being.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) involves the excessive consumption of alcohol that has negative consequences for an individual’s health, relationships, and overall well-being. AUD ranges from mild to severe, including binge drinking and addiction.

The relationship between trauma and alcohol abuse is complex and multifaceted. Individuals with trauma can use alcohol for a range of reasons, including:

  • Escapism – Alcohol can create a sense of detachment from reality, which can be appealing to trauma survivors
  • Self-medication – Using alcohol to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other psychological distress that often accompanies trauma
  • As a coping mechanism – Alcohol can temporarily numb emotional pain and provide a sense of relief from distressing memories and emotions

In addition to the risk of developing AUD, relying on alcohol to manage trauma hinders the trauma recovery process by impeding emotional processing and interfering with therapy.

What Are the Dangers of Self-Medication?

Self-medication refers to the practice of using drugs, alcohol, or specific behaviors, such as self-harm, to alleviate the physical, emotional, and psychological discomforts associated with trauma.

While self-medicating can produce temporary relief, long-term it presents significant dangers, such as:

  • Masking underlying issues – Instead of addressing the root causes of trauma, self-medicating masks them, contributing to delayed or incomplete treatment
  • Health risks – Mixing substances without knowledge of potential interaction or side effects poses serious health risks and can exacerbate underlying health conditions or create new ones
  • Dependence and addiction – Self-medicating leads to increased tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, and addiction
  • Worsening mental health – Self-medication worsens mental health symptoms over time
  • Declining physical health – Prolonged drug or alcohol use decreases immunity and impacts vital organs and the body’s overall ability to function properly
  • Delaying proper treatment – Choosing to self-medicate can delay the decision to seek appropriate medical and psychological treatment

Prolonged self-medication can also contribute to legal, financial, and relationship issues. Addressing trauma and alcohol abuse requires integrated, comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment from experienced professionals.

Treating Trauma and Alcohol Abuse at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

Trauma and alcohol abuse affect common areas of the brain, which may be why they both respond well to similar treatment modalities. In seeking treatment for trauma and alcohol abuse, finding a dual diagnosis treatment center is essential because co-occurring disorders require simultaneous treatment.

Fortunately, Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides comprehensive, holistic, and evidence-based treatment for many co-occurring disorders, including trauma and alcohol abuse. Our effective treatment includes:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Trauma therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • EMDR therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Group therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Nutritional counseling and education
  • Acupuncture therapy
  • Family therapy and counseling
  • Person-centered therapy
  • Relapse prevention therapy

Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides a complete continuum of care, from detox through aftercare planning. Our alumni program allows patients to stay connected and offers support and resources to help them stay on track in their recovery.

Begin Your Healing at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

Unresolved trauma and alcohol abuse do not have to control your life or the life of your loved one. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers comprehensive treatment in a welcoming, inclusive environment. Call 866.931.6429 to learn more or fill out our online form. Our admissions counselors are available to listen.