Last month was National Recovery Month which is “dedicated to raising awareness and understanding around mental (behavioral) and substance abuse disorders and celebrating the people who have recovered.” However, that doesn’t mean recovery shouldn’t be celebrated and that awareness shouldn’t be promoted throughout the rest of the year. With the state of addiction in the country as it is, every day should be a renewed effort to bring education and aid to those who are suffering, and particularly those who are coping with both trauma and addiction at the same time.

The Need to Address Both Trauma and Addiction

There are a lot of things within a person’s life that can further complicate the road to recovery. In this case, trauma and addiction together can form an awful, powerful force that slows the patient’s progress. Some professionals cite traumatic experiences as being (at least partly) responsible for most “of recoverable substance abuse and behavioral health disorders.” Since these experiences are in the past, though, how can they be overcome?

We’ve talked previously about the impact of behavioral and mental health issues on substance abuse, but what about trauma? Defined, it’s said to be “an emotional response to an event or set of circumstances that is physically or emotionally harmful” and which then, unfortunately, stays with the person for a long time after. It’s the lasting presence of these memories and their associated, painful emotions, that cause grief for the person. That presence is often what drives people to drugs and alcohol, which then functions as a welcome escape, and an addiction forms over time.

How do professionals, then, go about helping these afflicted individual to move past these memories so that they can fully emerge from the throes of substance abuse disorders? It requires the person, and everyone else aiding in their recovery, to work toward general health, mental/behavioral health, and a generally substance-free lifestyle. It requires patience and understanding in the face of frustration. There has to be a belief by all that change for the better is possible and within their capabilities.

As with most things, an approach steeped in education and research is the best option. Professionals should study in more detail the ways in which traumatic experiences can (and often do) lead to trouble with drugs and alcohol. They should be able to suggest coping methods for those individuals so that their painful memories can be dealt with in a safe way that doesn’t merely cover them up temporarily with the effects of substances. It’s easier said than done, but the more time and effort that is put into these endeavors, the better professionals will be able to aid these patients in the future.

To learn more about intensive group therapy and similar treatments for substance abuse disorders, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.