A higher proportion of women in treatment for substance use than in the average populations report history of abuse. Substance use, at its core, can often be a strategy to manage physical or psychic pain.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is not limited to those who have served in war zones. Survivors of abuse, whether physical or sexual, or those who have witnessed potentially life-threatening events, may begin to show symptoms of PTSD. For those in recovery who have survived traumatic events, painful emotions and memories may re-surface when the substance use ends. If this happens, the person in recovery may feel powerful, painful feelings that trigger cravings and may contribute to one’s return to use. Getting help for both behavioral health conditions, the substance use disorder AND the PTSD, is important in these situations.
Today, I will be kind to myself if I have a history of abuse or trauma. I will speak with a trusted friend or professional to manage my painful emotions and memories rather than return to use.