Trauma is the result of a distressing event or series of events. It is an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the experiences.

This definition of trauma includes not only unresolved childhood trauma, but adult onset trauma as well.

Some of the Most Common Forms of Trauma Are:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Loss of a Job
  • Violence/Assault
  • Divorce/Break-up
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Accident
  • Spiritual Abuse
  • Bullying
  • Rape
  • Violent Workplace
  • Childhood neglect of physical needs
  • Abandonment
  • Childhood neglect of emotional needs
  • Multiple Life stressors
  • High-Stress job
  • Death
  • Growing up in an alcoholic/dysfunctional home
  • Abortion(s)
  • Domestic Violence
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Suicide of a Loved One
  • Addictions
  • Medical diagnosis/chronic illness/loss of functioning
  • Infertility/miscarriage(s)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Natural disasters
  • War/combat/political violence
  • Infidelity
  • Chaotic/dysfunctional environment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Car Wreck
  • Burglary
  • Pregnancy/Childbirth
  • Witnessing something traumatic
  • Psychiatric issues and hospitalization
  • Chronic relapse and related consequences
  • Addiction and related consequences
  • Birth defects
  • Learning disability
  • Parental Alienation
  • Death of a sibling
  • Injury of a sibling

Since the function of an addiction is to provide relief, it only stands to reason that a person’s history would directly affect his/her ability to manage feelings.

Often people are unaware that they use drugs or alcohol to “numb out” from symptoms of trauma. There may be little or no awareness of this dysfunctional pattern until their mid 30’s or 40’s when problems arise in their personal relationships and workplace. Over time, the drug or alcohol begins to serve many purposes; not only does it help to numb out from painful memories or feelings, but it can create an illusion of control by decreasing anxiety, shame, and intrusive thoughts. Some people even report that it can provide a feeling of being “alive” or “normal”. Socially, it can be a vehicle that provides a sense of belonging and total acceptance by fellow drug users and alcoholics.


"Everyone will experience something traumatic in their lifetime, but it is how they process it that matters.”