Warning: The content in this article discusses distressing themes including sexual abuse, rape, and assault, which some may find triggering. If you’re struggling or need support, call 800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
This year’s RAINN Day falls on April 14th, and is different from all others before it due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Day was initially created to bring awareness to college campuses about the rise in sexual violence. RAINN Day is especially important this year because social distancing may contribute to high rates of sexual violence, which in turn impacts rates of addiction.
Unfortunately, because of the unprecedented stress of coronavirus, some people have been placed in very vulnerable positions. With many of us isolating ourselves at home due to social distancing, these vulnerable individuals may be stuck in unsafe situations. Because there is additional toxic stress, sheltering-in-place may not be the safest option for them.
For many people, it’s hard to address hard topics like sexual assault and sexual violence. Every 98 seconds, someone somewhere in the United States becomes a victim or experiences sexual assault. Statistically, 20 percent of college-aged women have been assaulted, and 4 percent of college-aged men have been assaulted.
By bringing attention and much-needed dialogue to this topic, we can come together to find ways to fight against sexual violence. The more we fight against this issue, the more we as a society can ward off addiction related to assault and sexual violence.
The Relationship Between Trauma, Abuse, and Addiction
According to Dr. Gabor Maté, an addiction expert and bestselling author, one of the major catalysts for addiction is childhood or adolescent trauma. Many studies have corroborated this, as traumatic experiences have been linked to substance use disorders (SUDs).
Many people with histories of physical and/or sexual abuse later struggled with drugs and alcohol. Multiple studies examining this trauma and SUDs in women and young adults have shown strong associations between these conditions.
As shown by the National Survey of Adolescents, teens who experienced sexual abuse or assault were three times more likely to report substance abuse. In fact, in a survey of adolescents who were receiving SUD treatment, over 70 percent reported a history of trauma.
Dr. Maté believes that addiction and addictive behaviors give pleasure and relief while soothing the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma. If a child or adolescent experiences abuse, the brain may set up circuits to self-soothe that eventually lead them to substance abuse and addiction.
Physical and sexual abuse happens at such high rates in the U.S. that it has been considered a public health issue. For many of these victims, high rates of lifetime dependence on several substances were found.
Heightened Risks of Violence Related to COVID-19
With the rapid spread of the virus across the globe, many of us are experiencing many new and overwhelming stresses. Although sheltering-in-place prevents the spread and ultimately ought to keep social distancing from being prolonged, it has put vulnerable populations at increased risk for violence.
The unfortunate truth for many individuals is that home isn’t always safe for everyone. For children at risk, the economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic may put them at higher risk for abuse. This is a daunting prospect considering 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time they turn 20.
Any dysfunctional relationships that existed prior are likely to continue to suffer or worsen without useful or positive coping strategies. For some, there are domestic violence issues, homophobia or transphobia, or other circumstances that put both children, adolescents, and adults at risk for violence.
How Recovery Unplugged Helps Handle Trauma
At Recovery Unplugged, we’re committed to using music to help you address the traumas underlying your addictions. We understand that it can be easier for survivors of sexual assault to try and forget their experiences than face them.
Music serves as a catalyst for hope and healing here at Recovery Unplugged. If you’ve been struggling with painful memories from the past, you don’t have to face them alone.
“Drugs and alcohol are really a symptom of the problem,” says Paul Pellinger, Vision Leader and Co-Founder of Recovery Unplugged. “This can all be caused by things like mental illness and/or trauma.”
“Now that the pandemic has exacerbated some of these issues and stressors, we have the ability to help clients deal with the changes in terms of living life on life’s terms,” says Paul. “At Recovery Unplugged, we use music as a catalyst to engage evidence-based treatment modalities that creates a solution for all of these challenges.”
An addiction expert and certified addictions counselor for over twenty years, Paul combined his experience working in treatment with his love for music to help create the Recovery Unplugged method. With this vision in mind, our highly trained and experienced staff is here to help you address your traumas in a safe and constructive way with the help of music.
You don’t have to allow your addictions to control your life any longer. With our trauma track, our clinicians are here to help you unpack your experiences and learn new ways to cope with whatever may have happened to you.
Don’t allow yourself to become another overdose or statistic. In the right hands, the behavioral tools you learn at Recovery Unplugged can help you carve out a new and brighter future.
If you’re ready to face your fears and take the first step towards a fulfilling life in recovery, we’re here to help. Reach out to our admissions counselors today to learn how we can help you with the profound healing power of music.