Linked Diagnoses- Alcohol/Substance Abuse
The relationship between trauma and substance abuse goes both ways. Exposure to trauma increases the risk of substance abuse while at the same time the use of substance abuse increases the risk of experiencing trauma. Overusing drugs is common among people dealing with the stress from traumatic experiences. Self medication with legal and illegal substances, alcohol in particular, numbs the emotions associated with sexual abuse, heavy combat, traumatic injuries, torture, or the personal violation that comes from the loss of valued people or possessions.
The problem is that this pain can only be numbed temporarily and in many cases these same substances contribute to mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders in addition to the development of substance abuse/dependence. In particular, alcohol can worsen symptoms of depression while cocaine can actually stimulate hyperarousal. Chronic drug abuse also causes physical damage to the body both in the short and long-term and can also literally kill the user. Each individual must take care to monitor their intake of legal drugs and examine their motivation for their use.