One of the main correlations between substance abuse and mental health difficulties is underlying trauma. In fact, 80% of women in treatment for alcohol or drugs underwent some sort of physical or sexual abuse. Trauma is not only physical, sexual, or emotional in nature; it also includes things such as grief and bereavement, physical injuries, witnessing a car wreck, and being in a car wreck.

Not everyone is disturbed or distressed by the same things. For some, something may be considered traumatic, while for others it may not affect them at all. Often, PTSD symptoms are noted in those who experience some form of trauma. Some of these individuals self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to “treat” their symptoms. Unfortunately, this can lead to the road of addiction. At the same time, a history of substance abuse may increase the chance of PTSD symptoms in someone who experiences an upsetting event.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many individuals are not aware of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. With this disorder, feelings of stress and being easily startled may occur when no danger is present. Typically, the signs of PTSD present within three months after experiencing an occurrence that you found to be distressing. However, signs have been found to start years after the shocking event occurred. The frequency of this disorder can last for months or could even become chronic.

Adults can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder if each of the following symptoms have lasted over a duration of one month:

  • Flashbacks: Re-experiencing the traumatic happening as though the individual currently exists within the moment of the original event. Physical anxiety symptoms tend to occur when flashbacks take place.
  • Nightmares
  • Fearsome thoughts

These signs may be a response to a stated term, an entity, or a situation that has a similarity to anything involved in the trauma. For example, if an individual was sexually assaulted by a middle age male with grey hair and a coworker dyes his hair with a few grey streaks, this could trigger the individual who has undergone a traumatic event. Due to this, an individual with PTSD would most likely attempt to avoid places, thoughts, emotions, events, or things that reminded them of the trauma.

The Link Between Trauma and Substance Abuse

Some other signs of this disorder involve reactivity and stimulation:

  • Feeling “on edge”
  • Being easily frightened
  • Anger eruptions
  • Trouble sleeping

There are also symptoms that can be seen on the emotional and cognitive levels:

  • Blocking out details about the traumatic event
  • Not-so-positive thoughts, regarding both the outside world and oneself
  • Displaced blame and guilt
  • Lack of interest in things that the individual once found pleasurable

Where to Turn to Learn Sober Coping Skills

If you or a loved one have been self-medicating in order to avoid experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, contact Discovery Place in Burns, Tennessee today at 1-800-725-0922. Our trained professionals are here to help you twenty-four hours a day in your time of need. We offer an affordable, non-profit treatment alternative that will aid you in achieving sobriety from opioids, alcohol, cannabis, and other illicit substances. Many individuals have found success at Discovery Place.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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