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Treating Trauma and AddictionDetox programs in San Diego have to be prepared for the rise in addiction rates and to understand where the roots of addiction can stem from. Addiction is one of the fastest growing, most unpredictable struggles in modern history because it has physical, mental, social, and even economic triggers, often revolving around past traumas. Understanding the interplay between trauma and addiction can help us provide better, more sustainable recovery for our patients.

The Cycle of Trauma and Addiction

Trauma can introduce addictive behaviors. It can also inhibit recovery and abstinence. Studies have shown this link between trauma and addiction to affect every niche and sector of the US, from soldiers and police officers to children to African-American Women. Everyone is susceptible to addiction, and that vulnerability is amplified in the presence of a traumatic history.

Trauma has a unique way of rewiring our brains and can be addictive in and of its self. One animal study found that our own internal stress response to trauma can produce a sense of calm and relaxation. Essentially, we become so over-loaded that our brains stop being able to process the negative aspects of our stress. We shut down. In much the same way that drugs and alcohol help us dissociate from our surroundings, and provides an escape from pain, boredom, or other unpleasant experiences, so can our own stress response. It should come as no surprise then that stress and addiction have a powerful biological link, and that trauma can create a dependency on immediate pain relief or euphoria in response to stress. When addiction is fueled or catalyzed by such a disorder, both the addiction and underlying traumatic disorder have to be treated as comorbid disorders.

Overcoming Comorbid Trauma and Addiction

Comorbidity is a term used in the medical fields to describe the presence of two or more disorders or diseases that can influence one another. Often times, comorbidity can mean treatment will be more difficult, have lower success rates, or pose unexpected risks. In addiction, we see that depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders have a profound influence on treatment outcomes. acute traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make recovery difficult because they leave people vulnerable to specific stressors related to their trauma. This vulnerability increases the risk for relapse, which is exponentially more dangerous following a reduced tolerance post-recovery.

Treating addiction without treating underlying trauma can leave people vulnerable to relapse and injury. A full-fledged treatment program for patients suffering from both trauma-related disorders and addiction will have to target both disorders simultaneously. A mixed treatment program might include group or individual therapies focused on reducing the stress response to their unique trauma, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, aimed at helping the patient monitor their own signs of stress, tension, anxiety, and cravings. The overall goal of these programs is to reduce the response associated with these disorders and to reduce the need for alleviating stress with substances.

Detox and addiction treatment in San Diego is available to residents and guests who need it at our AToN recovery center. If you or anyone you know is in need of treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction we urge you to contact us directly. Our program focuses on treating the underlying causes of addiction, to prevent relapse post recovery and to help you lead a lifelong recovery.