When someone struggles with alcohol and drugs there is often an underlying trauma and/or mental health disorder that can be strongly linked to their destructive behavior. Self-medicating is a common reason why a person will abuse a substance. They seek to numb the pain, escape their reality, or elevate their mood. Sometimes drug or alcohol addiction can cause mental disorders and other times mental disorders lead to addiction. Trauma is something that can generally lead to addiction.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma as an event or set of circumstances that a human is exposed to which they feel is life-threatening and will result in emotional and/or physical damage. What is considered traumatic ranges between people. Those events that one person views as traumatic, another may not be as impactful to another person. 

When trauma occurs it isn’t something that goes away overnight. It digs deep down into a person and affects their ability to healthily function socially, mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally for the long-term. The internal pain and strain that persist when traumas are not professionally dealt with tend to fester and continue to worsen over time. It makes sense for those suffering from trauma to care for themselves through the use of drugs or alcohol, but this behavior is not “care.”

What Is The Link Between Trauma And Substance Abuse?

Intense negative emotional trauma causes a person to feel like everyday life is overwhelmingly stressful for them. Every action feels harder every moment, tougher. It is an exhausting way to live while also not being a very pleasant way to survive. Unhealthy coping methods like drinking or using illicit drugs may feel like while being drunk or high the weight of their antagonizing feelings is eliminated.

Trauma can be any event, but most common life experiences that are highly associated with people being traumatized include sexual assault, domestic violence, combat, and natural disasters. Sadly, the majority of those who are seeking help report that they were the victim of trauma. Approximately 90% of those in a behavioral healthcare setting describes a rough experience that altered their lives.

Unfortunately, trauma may have been a root cause for a person to abuse drugs or alcohol, but it also plays a role in increasing the risk of future abuse and disturbing experiences. After such events, it is easy to understand why these individuals develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The use of alcohol or drugs may initially seem helpful in managing symptoms of PTSD including sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, hypersensitivity, or inability to react in social situations. Providers who offer specialized care for those who have experienced trauma can help these individuals recover and better handle themselves in a positive way.

Where Can You Find Treatment For Drugs Or Alcohol In Tennessee?

What Is The Relationship Between Trauma And AddictionThe medical detox and addiction alternative treatment center at Discovery Place in Tennessee has worked with many individuals who struggled with trauma or a mental health disorder. We know that detoxing off of drugs or alcohol is only one step in the road to recovery and long-term healing.

When you are struggling with addiction, your ability to become sober increases when you enter into a professional treatment program. The Burns detox alternative treatment center welcomes you and is here to help. Call our Tennessee detox alternative treatment center anytime at 1-800-725-0922.


  • 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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