Trauma, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), follows an event, series of events, or set of physically or emotionally harmful, or threatening experiences, and results in lasting, adverse effects on the individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
People with substance use disorders (SUDs) have often experienced various types of trauma. It may be trauma preceded the addiction or been present during active addiction. While trauma does not cause addiction, it is often cited as a contributing factor and may lead to unhealthy behavior patterns.
Unresolved trauma-related issues can be a barrier to recovery. Treating trauma helps patients understand how it impacts their SUD and how they can address trauma’s effects and sustain a successful recovery.
La Hacienda provides both men’s and women’s support groups for patients presenting trauma symptoms. It has been shown that people of different genders respond to traumatic experiences in diverse ways and develop resulting behavioral disorders at different rates with different symptoms.
Likewise, trauma-focused therapy for patients needs to be gender-specific for the best results.
Several types of trauma therapy developed by mental health professionals are incorporated in trauma treatment by La Hacienda’s licensed counselors. In different ways, each therapy helps a person with trauma deal with their experience and memories and move forward with recovery. These include:
A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories.
Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) approaches healing from the belief that emotions are strongly linked to identity. EFT assumes that: Lack of emotional awareness is harmful. Avoiding emotions can lead to negative outcomes.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is talk therapy that can help a patient manage problems by changing the way they think and behave. It’s mostly used to treat anxiety and depression but can be useful for other mental health issues or physical problems.
A unique form of CBT, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, can reduce the risk of acute stress disorder (ASD) developing into PTSD.
La Hacienda Treatment Center seeks to have a trauma-informed workforce and supports the following SAMHSA-established core values required for such a program:
Trauma-informed staff members understand that trauma is an experience, not just an event.
With the help of a skilled therapist, trauma survivors can deal with memories of past traumatic experiences develop coping skills that lessen trauma’s negative impact on their daily lives.
The overarching goal of trauma therapies is to help a person process their emotions, negative thoughts, and feelings connected to the traumatizing event.
Among other benefits, this goal seeks to:
Substance use disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are chronic, debilitating conditions that frequently co-occur.
PTSD develops in some people who have experienced a physical or psychological trauma or emotional event and suffer trauma-related symptoms.
The National Institute of Mental Health says it is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic experience. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help avoid or defend against dangers.
NIMH adds, however, that individuals with co-occurring SUD and PTSD symptoms need a more complicated course of treatment and have less favorable treatment outcomes compared to individuals with only one of the disorders.
Working with a skilled trauma therapist to treat PTSD during addiction treatment helps meet this additional need. It is a good reason for having trauma-informed care as part of an overall treatment program.
A traumatic event causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. The person experiencing the feelings related to the traumatic event may feel physically threatened or extremely frightened as a result.
Traumatic events can include childhood abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault, life-threatening injuries, or any experience that causes significant distress or physical harm.
In some cases, the victim may be unable to address memories of the trauma or be in denial about the emotional or psychological harm they suffered from experiencing trauma.
They need the support and care of a trained professional, and time to recover from the traumatic event and regain emotional and mental stability.
La Hacienda has trauma-informed staff ready to help people overcome trauma’s effects while entering recovery from substance use disorders.
In addition to trauma therapy, our mental health resources include on-staff psychiatrists available to meet daily with patients as needed.
Call our admissions office and ask how we can help you or a loved one seek treatment for addiction and trauma-related disorders.