Addiction, Trauma and PTSD

Addiction and trauma disorders are closely linked, as many individuals turn to alcohol or other drugs to escape the pain of traumatic experiences.

At the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, men and women coping with the pain of unresolved trauma benefit from more than 60 years of addiction treatment expertise along with highly specialized, fully integrated clinical care for co-occurring trauma disorders. This innovative approach has given us unmatched experience in leading men, women, youth, and families through the chaos, fear, and isolation of addiction and trauma--and into new life in recovery.

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Recent studies have found that 50 and as much as 96% of treatment-seeking substance abusers reported experiencing some major traumatic event in their lifetime. Up to 34% of patients in substance abuse treatment have both a substance abuse diagnosis and PTSD diagnosis at the same time. For women, in particular, the rates are two to four times higher. How does trauma impact the client who is seeking help for addiction? For many, alcohol and other drugs were used to manage the negative symptoms associated with trauma exposure such as:

Emotional Symptoms of Trauma

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling disconnected or numb

Physical Symptoms of Trauma

  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Being startled easily
  • Racing heartbeat

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides women and men a safe, supportive environment to heal from addiction and co-occurring trauma disorders.

Learn more about our specialized addiction and trauma treatment program.

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