Deeply-rooted in the psyche, trauma, in its simplest terms, is the result of a distressing experience or series of events. Affecting millions of people worldwide, it can manifest itself into PTSD and substance abuse. Traditionally, trauma has been treated apart from PTSD and addiction. With trauma therapy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - all three are treated together. In this blog, we’ll explore what trauma therapy is and how it is being used to treat PTSD and addiction.
What is Trauma Therapy?
Frequently referred to as trauma-informed therapy, trauma therapy is an approach to addressing the effects of psychological scars through recognizing the interplay between PTSD and addiction. Rather than viewing addiction and PTSD as occurrences separate from trauma, trauma therapy believes they are symptoms of the initial trauma and should be treated as a whole. The end result being an individual who is empowered, healthy, and no longer limited in their life by past events.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the manifestation of unresolved trauma. This can look like anything from vivid flashbacks and nightmares, to heightened awareness and intense anxiety. To treat PTSD, trauma-informed therapy makes use of two primary approaches:
EMDR: Standing for eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR is an evidence-based therapy that assists in processing traumatic events and memories through eye movements. As these memories are processed in a safe and therapeutic environment, the symptoms of PTSD are lessened.
CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach to treating PTSD that seeks to change patterns of thinking. At the core of CBT is the desire to help individuals understand and manage their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions related to trauma. Changing these negative thoughts and feelings can create a foundation for healing.
Treating Substance Abuse
Individuals that have suffered from traumatic experiences are more likely to struggle with addiction. Substance abuse is often used to self-medicate from the bleak reality that struggling with trauma creates. Trauma therapy treats addiction by:
Identifying Triggers: Substance use by trauma survivors is regularly triggered by certain feelings, memories, or people and places. Trauma-informed treatment identifies an individual’s specific triggers, helps them to understand them and create health coping mechanisms to battle them.
Building Resilience: While a reliance on drugs has been the primary crutch in dealing with trauma, through therapy, individuals can learn to build resilience and deal with their past in a healthier way.
Everyone’s experience with trauma is unique and will manifest itself in different ways. If you are someone struggling with PTSD and substance abuse as a result of trauma, it may be possible to heal from the inside out using trauma-informed therapy. PTSD and addiction can ruin your quality of life if left untreated. There is hope for healing.
If you or someone you know has experienced trauma and is suffering from PTSD or substance abuse, call Country Road Recovery today. Our experienced staff are trained in trauma care and ready to answer any questions you may have about treatment.