Life Trauma Can Lead to Substance Abuse

Past Experiences May be Responsible For Your Addiction

Any sort of trauma that we as humans experience in our lives has the capacity to shape our entire lives thereafter. Trauma, in some cases, can very well be the underlying reasons why individuals struggle with mental health disorders and addiction to drugs or alcohol. Those who have experienced childhood trauma are at a greater risk of struggling with substance abuse later on in life, inherently affecting their ability to fully have the peaceful life that they rightfully deserve.

Just as childhood trauma affects the likelihood of the individual struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction later on in their life, adult trauma has a similar effect. Adult chronic illness, rape, war, or trauma of various sorts can lead an individual down the very dangerous path of drug or alcohol addiction.

What is the Flight Response?

Many of us have heard the term ‘fight-or-flight’, but what does it truly mean? The fight or flight effect is a response to a traumatic event that has occurred in an individuals life. It is a response to stress and occurs when something physically or mentally frightening is experienced. When the event occurs, the individual either remains present and fights the response or disappears.

Essentially, the fight or flight is a response to the choices at the present time. Depending on the mental state of the individual, they may choose to stay in the situation (flight) or leave it (flight). The term is a direct response to stress and releases certain hormones, triggering a reaction.

Whether it is psychological trauma or physical trauma, any sort of traumatic experience in your life can affect your mental state. An event that has damaged the psyche can have long-lasting effects on an individual which can result in them turning to drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. Individuals who have endured psychological trauma are likely to turn to the drugs that ease their stress and calm them down. Drugs such as benzodiazepines are often prescribed to those who struggle with anxiety as it relates to trauma.

Stimulants are also often prescribed in order to give the individual the energy and motivation needed to carry on each day. Perhaps the individual cannot function at full capacity without the aid of stimulant drugs, in which case, doctors prescribe stimulants to reverse that. Opioids are also commonly prescribed to help ease the pain that was perhaps a result of a traumatic experience.

Everyone Copes Differently

Every person who has endured trauma of any sort will deal with it differently. Unfortunately, too many individuals turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape. What this can lead to is drug or alcohol addiction which can quickly spiral out of control. For those who have turned to drugs or alcohol as a result of their trauma will need to undergo dual diagnosis treatment. This type of treatment works to address any sort of underlying mental health issue that may be present as well as the addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma or addiction, treatment can help. It’s advised that you get yourself into treatment as soon as possible so that your situation does not worsen.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.