People who are chemically dependent on substances that impair their cognition are especially vulnerable to being emotionally abused. Emotional abuse can lead to mental health problems, family strife, and eroded self-esteem. When a person does not feel safe, loved, and cared for, it creates a sphere of pain and escapism around them. Substance use is often used to fill the void created by intense trauma and emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse and addiction are thoroughly intertwined in many cases. At Liberty Bay Recovery Center, we help you work through all of the mental health struggles and roots of addiction in your life. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the substance use. To find out more information about our dual diagnosis treatment, call Liberty Bay Recovery at (855) 607-8758 or visit our website.
Defining Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a more subjective concept than physical abuse due to its elusive nature. Many cases of emotional abuse turn into conflicting narratives between the abuser and the victim. This means that, unfortunately, others may not take emotional abuse as seriously as physical abuse. Some of the most common signs of emotional abuse in relationships include:
- Possessive and controlling behavior
- A power imbalance between the abuser and victim
- Insulting speech
- Yelling, screaming, and intimidation
- Excessive “rules” that the victim must follow
- Verbal degradation
- Victim isolation from loved ones
This list is not exhaustive, and other troubling behavior should always be investigated if someone is suspected of emotional abuse. The biggest danger to a victim of emotional abuse is remaining isolated from loved ones. Emotional abuse can also include Love bombing or extreme kindness after arguments, gaslighting, public or private humiliation, blackmailing, threats, and extreme jealousy.
Emotional Abuse and Addiction
Victims of any kind of abuse are often vulnerable and turn to substances that alter their state of mind. Emotional abuse is an especially troubling form of abuse because it targets the victim’s self-esteem and emotional well-being. This can cause anxiety, depression, suicidality, and in many cases, substance use.
Using Substances to Cope with Emotional Abuse
Mind-altering substances offer the victim an escape from their abuse. Emotional abuse is mostly psychological in nature, which means that the harsh reality of the abuse messes with the victim’s mindset. Many victims become confused and distrust their own perception of events due to the abuser’s psychological manipulation.
All of these complex factors can lead a victim to substance use to cope with the pain of the abuse. Trauma and addiction have long been recognized as dual diagnoses, particularly in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance use is a coping mechanism for emotional trauma and unpleasant memories.
Addiction Rooted in Trauma
Millions of people across the nation struggle with addiction developed in response to unhealed trauma. While many complex factors lead to addiction, traumatic events are one of the most common. Inability to cope with trauma can lead to a person wanting to escape their thoughts with mind-altering substances.
Emotional abuse can be very traumatic for the victim. Some victims of emotional abuse later get diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a debilitating, draining condition. We must address the root cause of addiction and preconceived traumas to help patients recover.
Addiction Recovery Starts in Portland, Maine
At Liberty Bay Recovery Center, we believe that your past traumatic experiences do not have to dictate your life today. Our experienced mental health professionals and addiction counselors will work with you to help you on your journey to recovery. We provide treatment for underlying mental health problems and substance use simultaneously.
If you are interested in getting help for trauma-rooted addiction, you can contact Liberty Bay Recovery at (855) 607-8758 for more information. We are excited to spread compassion and love through comprehensive addiction treatment.