Trauma and addiction have long been connected. Not only does one condition sometimes directly contribute to the development of the other, but when present simultaneously in an individual, they can wreak havoc on the mental and physical health of a person.
Trauma in and of itself often takes a serious toll on the overall health and well-being of an individual, and the suffering they experience after the event can become exacerbated the longer it goes unaddressed and unhealed.
For men, the majority of which are still reluctant to seek out professional help for their conditions, it’s common for them to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their pain. This article breaks down the connection between trauma, substance use and addiction in men, examining how they’re connected and how they can exacerbate each other.
The effects of trauma on behavior
The impact that trauma has on a person can vary widely, not only in the effects and various symptoms that manifest but in severity. This is because every traumatic experience is unique to the individual; two people could develop combat-induced PTSD, but each could respond to the disorder in totally different ways.
Additionally, the ways that men and women respond to trauma are different due to societal stereotypes and cultural, religious, generational or familial expectations. One of the most common ways trauma manifests itself in men is through anger. Many men are still being raised to believe there is no such thing as men’s mental health because mental health or emotions aren’t “manly”. Often, the only emotion deemed “masculine” enough for men is anger. The toll that trauma takes on a man’s mental health is often severe due to the fact that the majority of men don’t seek professional help because of the attached stigma.
Men’s mental health
Following a trauma, men commonly struggle with heightened anger and stress, self-isolation and avoidance of relationships, responsibilities and more. The longer that trauma goes unaddressed and unhealed, the more exacerbated these behaviors become.
Because our mental health plays such a massive role in the overall state of our health and well-being, most areas of our lives suffer when our mental health suffers.
Trauma does not go away on its own. It requires professional support, intentional treatment and safe social engagement. Refusing to seek treatment often results in shutting down mentally and emotionally in an attempt to cope with symptoms that increasingly become worse. It’s also common for men to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Trauma and substance use
The impact trauma has on our lives can be mild or catastrophic, depending not only on the trauma and its severity but also on how we uniquely respond to that trauma as well as care and treatment immediately following the trauma or lack thereof. Substance use is often a common response to trauma.
Embarking on the road to recovery is not for the faint of heart, but it can be accomplished by anyone who has the proper resources, support system and dedication. No matter where you’re currently at with trauma, substance use or both, we’re here to help you rebuild your life.
Real Recovery is a premier addiction rehabilitation and mental health treatment provider. We specialize in using evidence-based treatment to help men from all walks of life heal from mental health and substance use issues. When you’re ready to start recovery, we’re ready to help.