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How Natural Disasters Affect Addiction

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The relationship between natural disasters and addiction is an important topic that has been researched for years. The loss of a home, income, or loved ones can be devastating to anyone, but it also impacts the people who are struggling with addiction. Natural disasters have the potential to trigger relapse in those individuals because they will turn to substances as ways to cope with their feelings of grief and hopelessness. This blog post explores how natural disasters affect addiction and why it may be important to attend addiction treatment after a natural disaster strikes.

What is a Natural Disaster?

Natural disasters are defined as sudden, destructive events that occur in nature. They include everything from floods and earthquakes to hurricanes and tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service , natural disasters impact millions of people every year.

Natural Disasters Affect Addiction

Natural Disasters Can Cause Trauma

One important thing to remember when discussing natural disasters and addiction is the possibility that a natural catastrophe can lead to trauma that leads to substance abuse. Natural disasters like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes can cause a lot of stress and fear, which can lead to an illness called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Natural disasters can have a devastating effect on a person’s psychological, physical, and mental health.

A person’s experience with surviving a natural catastrophe can cause an imbalance in hormones, which can affect and drive functions like eating and sleeping. Trauma shock can trigger the brain to activate the fight or flight response. This is a natural response that occurs when someone experiences, perceives, or witnesses a frightening event, attack, threat, or other stressful situation. Untreated or undiagnosed PTSD often leads to people seeking out help with drugs and alcohol. 

Natural Disasters Affect Addiction

Natural Disasters Can Cause a Relapse

Someone who is in recovery from an addiction should be cautious and stay close to the support network that they have built when a natural disaster occurs. A natural disaster can increase the likelihood of someone returning to substance abuse, especially if they have lost a loved one or been displaced due to the natural disaster.

Family members and friends should monitor their loved ones and be attentive to any treatment they may need during and after a natural disaster. Individuals in recovery need to think hard about the risks and benefits of taking opioid medication to relieve pain. A relapse could occur, regardless of how long the person has been sober.

On the other hand, a natural disaster does not necessarily mean an individual will relapse. Family and friends who are helping an individual recover from a natural disaster can be very helpful in assessing how they are handling the effects of the natural disaster.

Natural Disasters Affect Addiction

Addiction Treatment is Available For Natural Disaster Victims

Help is available for anyone who has suffered from substance abuse after being involved in a natural catastrophe. There are many options for therapy, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. However, a substance abuse treatment facility that specializes in co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment, and SMART recovery is the best choice for someone who has PTSD and a Substance Use Disorder.

Natural Disasters Affect Addiction


There are many drug rehabilitation centers throughout the United States and around the world that can help you get through addiction withdrawal symptoms and learn how to live an addiction-free life. These centers offer confidential addiction care and will do everything they can to help you or your loved one overcome addiction and move on with your life. For more information about addiction recovery services , contact a professional today.

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