Understanding the Link Between Trauma & Addiction

understanding link trauma & addiction Mariposa Center

Why is it so important to understand the link between trauma and addiction as a part of the recovery process?

As a non-profit mental health and substance abuse treatment center in Orange County, Mariposa Center has more than 45 years of experience helping our community overcome these challenges. To do so, we often start by explaining the root causes of addiction. More specifically, we look into how past trauma might be contributing to this negative cycle of behavior.

Understanding Root Causes of Trauma & Addiction

Research has found that traumatic experiences, especially at a young age, increase the likelihood of mental health challenges and addiction. Childhood trauma can also affect brain function and development, “rendering an individual susceptible to later cognitive deficits and psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.”

While some trauma survivors go on to live healthy lives without treatment, many others will need ongoing therapy, emotional support, and other forms of aid to move beyond these issues.

Further, failing to acknowledge and treat trauma and its resulting symptoms can lead to more trauma for others. A study published by the Department of Justice found that about one-third of individuals who were abused or neglected will subject their children to similar trauma, a figure roughly six times higher than the general population’s rate of abuse. 

Treating the Person, Not the Symptoms

When people choose to enter recovery for mental health challenges or substance abuse issues, it’s important to help them understand how their past experiences inform the choices they have made that led to this point. 

For example, achieving sobriety is a praiseworthy accomplishment in and of itself. That said, addressing the trauma and resultant emotional damage is crucial to restoring a healthy and authentic life.

How Counseling & Therapy at Mariposa Addresses the Link Between Trauma & Addiction

At Mariposa Center, many aspects of substance abuse treatment are designed to restore mental wellness as well as physical health. For the recovery process to succeed, adding resilience and coping skills to individuals’ personal skill sets is essential. 

“In our experience, the challenges that bring clients to Mariposa Center are just a starting point for treatment. For recovery to be sustainable, we also need to identify and work through the underlying causes that can manifest as mental health challenges or substance disorders.”

– Dr. Krista Driver, LMFT; President & CEO

Simply put, understanding and addressing the links between trauma, addiction, and other mental health concerns is fundamental to recovery. By working through these challenges, individuals can restore the joy and optimism that comes from living a healthy life.

Learn more about treatment for trauma, addiction, and mental health challenges at Mariposa Center.

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