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What is Trauma-Informed Treatment in Addiction Recovery?

Many people who are struggling with alcohol addiction or drug addiction have found themselves in those situations because some form of trauma led them there. Physical, emotional, and mental trauma can be overwhelming. To try to dull the memories of such trauma, some people turn to substance abuse.

Trauma-informed treatment is a specific type of addiction rehabilitation program that focuses on allowing the patient to face and overcome the trauma that began their addiction. By beginning there, the patient can have a greater chance of achieving and maintaining sobriety because the underlying trigger will be removed or, at least, minimized.

Trauma in Three Parts

Significant trauma can often be divided into three parts to understand it better:

  • Event: The event is the specific occurrence or incident that the patient found traumatizing. Being in a car accident, surviving sexual assault, witnessing a loved one’s death, and struggling with poverty are common examples of traumatizing events.
  • Experience: The experience is how the event and its outcomes are interpreted by the patient. Not everyone who witnesses an event will be traumatized by it. Unique factors of the patient’s mental health, upbringing, religious beliefs, etc. will all change how they experience an event.
  • Effect: The effect is the aftermath of the experience or the symptoms of trauma. For example, trauma might cause someone to endure the different effects of insomnia, chronic pain, panic attacks, emotional deregulation, and so on.

Trauma-Informed Therapy in Four Parts

Trauma-informed therapy seeks to challenge trauma through a four-step process:

  • Realizing: The patient must first come to realize that they are traumatized. Without this realization, the treatments can only do so much.
  • Recognizing: The treatment specialist will show the patient how to recognize what trauma has made them do, e.g., how they became addicted to a substance due to trauma.
  • Responding: The patient will work with the addiction treatment professional to learn new ways to respond to trauma and trauma triggers.
  • Resisting: Finally, the patient will find ways to resist re-traumatization. By stopping trauma triggers before they can happen again, sobriety can be maintained for longer if not indefinitely.

Is Trauma-Informed Therapy for Everyone?

Not every addiction recovery patient requires trauma-informed therapy. Some people might not benefit from it because they need more time to face their trauma in other ways, such as through working with a therapist and psychiatrist. If you think that your trauma is fueling your addiction, then it is important to connect with a local recovery addiction center to talk about your options and what treatment methods might work best for you.

Here at The Nestled Recovery Center in Las Vegas, we proudly help people from all walks of life challenge and defeat their addictions, including those who are also dealing with significant and related traumas. For example, we have helped many veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) find their strength again. We also offer dual diagnosis treatments, which can uncover the connection between a mental health difficulty and your addiction. For more information about our treatments or to learn more about our facility, we invite you to contact us online whenever you wish.

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