It’s no secret that alcohol and substance use disorders have many causes. But as we’ve learned more over time with addiction, past or ongoing trauma can be a common driver.
A traumatic experience can feel like an overwhelming wave. You struggle to get your footing, and right when you think you’re okay, the pressure crashes back down on you. No matter the cause or situation, traumatic events can make you fear for your safety. And these experiences often have a continued negative impact on emotional and mental health.
That’s why trauma-informed care for addiction treatment is so important. In this post, we’ll explain the basics of trauma-informed care and the critical role it can play in addiction rehab.
The Basics of Trauma-Informed Care
Trauma-informed therapy shines a light on the direct relationship between a person’s past or current experiences and their addiction in order to help ease the healing process. Trauma-informed care works to address:
- The traumatic experience(s) that led to the addiction: Many people who experience trauma use drugs or alcohol as a way to escape from the pain and suffering caused by the traumatic event(s).
- Trauma caused by addictive behavior: Unfortunately, trauma can be a double-edged sword. The same substances used to escape the initial trauma often lead to new traumatic experiences as a result of destructive behavior.
- The main goal of trauma-informed care is to show the person suffering from addiction the connection between the two. After all, by creating a clear picture of the relationship, a sense of safety can be recovered, and healing can begin.
The Connection Between Trauma and Addiction
Research has shown that trauma can actually be the trigger that ignites an addiction. It’s common for someone who has experienced trauma to feel a strong sense of helplessness. The motivation to escape this crushing feeling can become so strong that the individual struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) turns to alcohol or drugs.
While drinking or getting high may be able to provide temporary relief, these actions oftentimes lead to a substance abuse disorder. This leaves a person in a vicious cycle of trauma and addiction. Once addiction takes hold, they continue to drink more or take more drugs, chasing the relief and escape these substances used to provide from their PTSD.
Since trauma has such a significant impact on addiction, trauma-informed therapy is used to get to the bottom of a person’s trauma. This therapy approach helps them face and work through their trauma, shows them about how their trauma led to and impacted their addiction, and teaches them how to cope with trauma in a healthy way.
For example, a patient who has experienced abuse may have an issue feeling safe. That trauma often gets the brain to overcompensate with intense feelings of anxiety and worry. An experienced clinician can help them dig into why they don’t feel safe, identify their triggers and develop coping skills and a proper mentality to help them feel secure without turning to alcohol or drugs.
The Role of Trauma-Informed Therapy in Addiction Rehab
Trauma-informed therapy in addiction rehab is used to help mend the trauma symptoms fueling addiction. But there’s an important distinction when it comes to trauma. Outside of addiction rehab, trauma is often treated as an “event” with lasting effects. With trauma-informed care, trauma isn’t seen as an “event”, but as a defining part of a person’s identity.
Many trauma-informed therapies stress the importance of control and empowerment. The benefit of this approach is that these skills can be used to address trauma and substance abuse. By actively collaborating with trauma-informed therapy, you can rebuild the confidence and safety trauma stole from you.
Support Is Within Reach at Silver Maple Recovery
If you or a loved one has experienced trauma and are currently suffering from a substance abuse disorder, support is within reach. Silver Maple Recovery uses evidence-based treatment including trauma-informed care to help you take back control of your life and regain sobriety.
Our trained caregivers are ready to answer your call 24 hours a day. Call (855)-762-7531 for support. Contact us today.