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Dual Diagnosis Rehab: Why Trauma Often Leads to Addiction

Dual Diagnosis Rehab: Why Trauma Often Leads to Addiction

There is zero shame in battling the emotional and mental challenges that result from trauma. Nearly 70% of the adults in the U.S. have experienced some traumatic experience in their lives.1 Sadly, it’s not uncommon for those battling the emotional wounds of trauma to take to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. For those battling trauma and substance use disorder, dual diagnosis rehab offers a solution to each challenge.

The trauma event may be something that happened in childhood, like abuse or neglect. Or it may take place as an adult, like sexual assault or loss of a loved one. The National Council for Behavioral Health reports trauma is a risk factor in nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders.1 Dual diagnosis rehab has proven to be a successful treatment model for someone suffering from these co-occurring disorders.

What is Trauma?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.”2 The APA goes on to say that it’s common for the victim of trauma to experience shock and denial immediately after the event. Victims may deal with flashbacks, physical symptoms like headaches or nausea, unpredictable emotions, or strained relationships as a long-term result of trauma.

Some of the most common causes of trauma include:

  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Grief and loss
  • Witnessing acts of violence
  • Cultural trauma
  • Medical events
  • War or other natural disasters3

Traumatized individuals are more likely to fall into alcohol use disorder or drug use. Research shows dependency on illicit substances may not occur for years following a traumatic event. For example, adolescent sexual assault victims are 4.5 times more likely to experience alcohol abuse or dependence than adolescents who have not been sexually assaulted.4 Adolescent sexual assault victims are also four times more likely to experience marijuana abuse or dependence and nine times more likely to experience hard drug abuse or dependence than those who have not been sexually assaulted.4

What is Dual Diagnosis Rehab?

Trauma can create unstable emotional moments, strained relationships, and a reluctance by the victim to share feelings about their experience. These challenges make alcohol and drugs more appealing. The temporary relief of emotional or mental pain can be a welcoming experience by those not receiving help in dealing with their traumatic event and lingering effects.

Dual diagnosis rehab is designed to support those battling mental health disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder and a substance use disorder. However, more than 50 percent of those living with a dual diagnosis did not receive any medical treatment or psychotherapeutic intervention to help them progress in their recovery.5

The most important move you or a loved one can make after experiencing a traumatic event – even if it occurred years ago – is speaking with a professional about the symptoms you’re battling today. Spring Gardens Recovery is one of the top dual diagnosis rehab centers in the country, creating personalized treatment plans for those dealing with mental and substance use disorders.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

The symptoms from trauma, like flashbacks and emotional outbursts, often occur with substance use disorder. It’s important to note that while the two often occur simultaneously, it doesn’t mean one has caused the other. The interaction of the two together, however, can worsen both conditions.6

Someone suffering from mental health and a substance use disorder must find a dual diagnosis rehab center that treats both conditions. The dual diagnosis rehab plan offered by drug specialists must include behavioral therapies that can give you emotional and social support. Group settings can also offer an opportunity to learn how others deal with day-to-day challenges. Because mental health and addiction are so intertwined, it’s imperative to treat both conditions simultaneously. If a person’s substance use disorder is treated, but their mental health challenges are not, the risk for relapse increases greatly.

Get Help Today from a Top Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Florida

At Spring Gardens Recovery, our experienced mental health and drug rehab specialists work with each client to build a customized treatment plan that addresses substance abuse while also delving into the underlying issues that may have caused the dependency on drugs. An integrated treatment plan offers each dual diagnosis patient the best opportunity at complete recovery and development of skills that offer long-term sobriety and emotional stability. Contact the experienced team at Spring Gardens Recovery today to learn more about dual diagnosis rehab.



[1] https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56

[2] https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma

[3] https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56

[4] https://istss.org/ISTSS_Main/media/Documents/ISTSS_TraumaStressandSubstanceAbuseProb_English_FNL.pdf

[5] https://scdmh.net/10870-2/

[6] https://medlineplus.gov/dualdiagnosis.html

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