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The foundation in treating addiction is rooted in trauma, and there is a lot of focus these days on PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many times in life, people can be hit with a horrible event that haunts their memories and can continue to drive their addictions.

In recent news, the tragedy of the Columbine massacre has come up again, and the effect of PTSD can have on people.

Trauma, Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery

Austin Eubanks, who survived the Columbine tragedy, had been a vocal advocate for addiction recovery and mental health awareness before he passed away this year.

Right before Eubanks died, he spoke out about PTSD at a Harm Reduction Summit. Awareness and stigma reduction were, of course, crucial. “We live in a culture today that is ill-equipped to address emotional pain in a healthy fashion,” he said.

The organizer of the Harm Reduction Summit said there were no outward signs that Eubanks was in trouble when he spoke, and he said, “It reinforces the message: Even when people seem like they have it together, you have to understand that this disease is chronic and relapsing. It’s a lesson to us all that even when someone seems well, they still need our support.”

Today there’s a big push to reduce the stigmas surrounding addiction and mental health, but this also parallels with the great concern over school shootings and gun control.

Another Columbine survivor founded a support group that brings other trauma survivors together to help each other, and connect them with professional counseling as well.

The Real Connection Between PTSD and Addiction

As one mental health website explains, a remarkable 50% of people who need help for addiction and should be in drug rehab also “meet the criteria” for PTSD. Many times addiction and PTSD can be “co-occurring” disorders, and indeed, many times people turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate against past trauma in their lives they can’t get out of their memories.

A big part of treating addiction in an addiction rehab after drug detox is treating the mental part of the illness as well. Addiction is considered by many to be a disease, and the mental component is just as important to treat as well as the physical aspects that can come with it.

As this report explains, nearly 70% of the US population has been through a traumatic event, yet about 8% eventually can develop PTSD. “The key is the perception of helplessness in the face of trauma or prior history of trauma (for example, child abuse). The greater the helplessness, the more likely we are to become trapped” in the cycle, and the more likely more PTSD symptoms can develop and get worse.

While PTSD and addiction can often require lifetime maintenance and care, the good news is many qualified people in the world can help, and help you navigate your life and learn how to deal with PTSD and addiction.


Article by Sonia

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