Trauma-informed care is a therapeutic framework that acknowledges past trauma and seeks to understand life experiences in an effort to provide knowledgeable and well-rounded addiction treatment. Trauma can affect people in a multitude of different ways but its effects are progressive and debilitating. Examining substance abuse through the lens of trauma reveals an ouroboros of pain and suffering. Ultimately drug and alcohol use only masks underlying trauma which makes addressing the root causes essential trauma-informed treatment.
Examining Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment
Trauma-informed addiction treatment takes the approach of looking at “what happened to you” instead of “what is wrong with you?” The focus of treatment is to create a safe and supportive therapeutic environment to process their trauma and heal from the subsequent addiction issues. Trauma can occur in a variety of ways and at multiple times throughout someone’s life. Childhood trauma can create serious long-term effects and those who have experienced trauma during their youth are more at risk for developing substance use disorders. The understanding that drug and alcohol use is often a coping mechanism for unresolved trauma is at the core of trauma-informed addiction treatment.
Elements of Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment
Safety and Trust: Processing trauma can be a deeply personal, emotional, and overwhelming endeavor. Cultivating an environment where individuals feel secure and comfortable sharing their experiences and emotions without the fear of being re-traumatized is at the core of trauma-informed care.
Understanding Trauma: In order for trauma-informed treatment to be successful, providers must be well-versed in the effects of trauma and its role in addiction. Training is required to recognize signs of trauma and be able to transition between approaches accordingly.
Empowerment: Central to the recovery journey in trauma-informed care is the empowerment of individuals. Helping them to regain control of their lives and have a decision about their treatment and sobriety is part of the transition from victim to survivor/thriver.
Collaboration and Choice: Emphasizing the collaboration between the individual and the treatment team is encouraged. Clients actively participate in their treatment plan and are involved in the decision process to align treatment with their needs and goals.
Holistic Approach: Trauma-informed treatment looks at the entire person. This means taking into consideration not just addiction, but also mental and physical health as well as their overall well-being. Combining multiple treatment modalities ensures every aspect is examined and every need met.
If you’ve been the survivor of trauma and struggle with substance abuse, trauma-informed addiction treatment could be the proper approach. Recognizing the connection between trauma and addiction can provide an empowering and safe environment to begin the healing process. You wouldn’t bandage a wound without cleaning it first. Addressing addiction in the context of trauma works the same way - they must be treated together.
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, consider looking for a trauma-informed treatment program. Most people have experience trauma of one kind or another and they deserve to find peace. Call Country Road Recovery today to speak about trauma-informed treatment options. Recovery is possible.