Trauma is an emotional response to a particularly upsetting experience or sequence of events. While a person can experience trauma at any stage of life, those who experience trauma during childhood are liable to suffer from stunted cognitive development, leading to more debilitating issues later on in life. When a person undergoes trauma they experience a range of short and long-term effects. Associated symptoms can be physical and psychological in nature, and might include things like headaches, nausea, uncontrollable shaking, flashbacks, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and persistent nightmares. In many instances the symptoms associated with unresolved trauma cause disruption to day-to-day life.
There are many experiences that could result in trauma; however, it is important to note that because everyone is different, an experience that traumatizes one individual might not negatively impact another. Examples of traumatic experiences include:
- Physical abuse or violence.
- Emotional abuse.
- Rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual abuse.
- Childhood abandonment and/or neglect.
- Living under the same roof as someone with a substance use disorder or severe mental illness.
- Living with/caretaking for a loved one with chronic illness.
- Sudden and significant loss (death of a loved one, end of a relationship, loss of a career).
- Homelessness or poverty.
- Violence within the community.
- War/active service.
- Oppression, racism, or discrimination.
- Natural disaster.
- Undergoing a severe accident or sustaining a severe injury.
- Living through an act of terrorism.
When a person experiences trauma they have an increased risk of developing related issues, which could be psychological, behavioral, or physical in nature. One of the most common issues associated with unresolved trauma is substance misuse and dependence. The International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) found that up to 75% of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic experiences reported misusing alcohol or suffering from alcohol dependence. There is also a strong relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Roughly 80% of Vietnam veterans who sought treatment for PTSD simultaneously suffered from an alcohol use disorder. If you or someone you love has been struggling with unresolved trauma and addiction, CuraWest is available to help. Our program of trauma-informed addiction treatment caters to the unique needs of each client, helping them lay a solid foundation for lasting recovery.