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Why are mental abuse victims more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol?

Many victims of mental abuse suffer from depression and anxiety, two common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Women are four times more likely than men to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, especially after experiencing abuse or trauma. A common negative coping mechanism to deal with the symptoms of abuse is the use of drugs and alcohol. These substances allow the victim to numb the pain from the emotional trauma and induce sleep. Substance abuse can impair judgment, weaken relationships with family and friends, and increase the potential for accidents.

Victims of emotional abuse are in emotional pain. That emotional pain can get translated into real physical pain. The individual will try to dull the pain somehow. If their health care provider is unable to detect the true source of their pain and refer them for therapy, they may end up trying over-the-counter or prescription pain medications or alcohol, all easily obtainable without having to face their painful truth.

Unfortunately, the substance abuse adds to the problems even if the pain is diminished. Eventually, the individual will have to do all the hard work necessary to beat the addiction into remission then address the underlying issues that created the addiction. It becomes a vicious cycle if the underlying issues are never addressed and the individual never removes themselves from the abuser.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.