Alcoholism and Trauma

Many people who have lived with alcoholics – especially children who were raised by them – are familiar with the traumatic behavior that an alcoholic can display. Many people have become victims of domestic abuse, car accidents, and other traumatic situations at the hands of an alcoholic.

But what some of these people may not know is that these alcoholics are often traumatized themselves. Trauma is a difficult problem that anyone can experience, and many trauma sufferers turn to alcohol to help them manage their problems.

While alcoholism is undoubtedly no long-term solution to trauma, many people find that it helps them soothe the pain. Learning a bit about how trauma can influence alcoholism can help problem drinkers overcome their issues with alcohol.

Unaddressed Trauma & Alcohol

Almost everyone carries a little bit of trauma with them.

Many people are traumatized at an early age when something happens that we’re not able to cope with. Common examples of trauma include schoolyard bullying, domestic violence, or injuries.

These issues can affect a child deeply and can leave emotional wounds that resurface later in life. Teenagers and adults can also become traumatized.

Whatever the case, anyone who is traumatized will carry the burden of that trauma with them until they have developed the coping skills necessary to work through the trauma. Unfortunately, this is not something taught in school, and many people are unaware that they’re even carrying trauma with them.

For this reason, many people turn to alcohol to help them manage their trauma. Traumatized people are often anxious, unhappy, or face difficulty in situations that other people find easy to manage. This can lead them to develop a belief that they are inferior or incapable, which can lead to drinking.

Drinking may provide confidence and emotional ‘bolstering’ that people need to temporarily rise above their traumas, but in no way does this help them work through them. Alcohol will not help anyone overcome trauma, and in many cases, can lead to more trauma.

The Vicious Cycle of Trauma

Alcoholism can perpetuate a cycle of trauma that can be hard to breakthrough.

Say an individual was traumatized by his father beating his mother at an early age. Unable to cope with the trauma, he begins drinking during his teenage years and becomes an alcoholic. As an alcoholic, he then beats his wife during a blackout, traumatizing his child and perpetuating the cycle.

As you can see, using alcohol to overcome trauma is redundant. The best way to work through trauma is to seek the help of a professional trained to work with traumatized patients.


Many alcoholics choose to drink because they are traumatized and unable to manage the discomfort of their trauma on their own. While this may be an unfortunate reality, alcohol will not help these people work through their trauma.

If you or someone that you love is struggling with alcoholism, don’t hesitate to seek help from a rehab facility so you can overcome the problem.

Written by Nigel Ford

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