Trauma Resolution In Addiction Treatment

Defining Trauma

Trauma resolution is critical to addiction treatment. Trauma is classified as a distressing or disturbing experience which can have minor or major impacts on one’s wellbeing. The result of traumatic events can stifle one’s sense of peace, cause them to distrust others, numbs emotions or feel disconnected. While trauma from childhood experiences is often the most damaging, it can happen at any point during a lifetime.

Identifying trauma in addiction treatment creates healing and freedom. When those in recovery understand the sources of their stress and trauma, they are better equipped to stay sober.

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Types of Trauma

Many types of trauma exist, each of which is experienced in many ways and can leave a major impact on the human psyche.

Direct Trauma

Direct trauma is the most common and simplest type of trauma. In direct trauma, something happens directly to an individual, either by experiencing or witnessing it themselves.

Indirect Trauma

Indirect trauma is where something impacts someone indirectly, such as viewing it on television or having it relayed to them by a friend of family member.

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma can be defined as limited trauma, or a onetime event that happens during a limited time period.

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma is ongoing abuse, neglect, or multiple traumatic events. These events may be a repeat of the same type of event, or totally different events that just happen to occur in succession.

Insidious Trauma

Insidious trauma is pervasive, but it does not necessarily impact an individual directly, such as living in a violent or dangerous environment.

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma is like chronic trauma, only it is caused by the actions or inactions of a caregiver a child should be able to trust.

Common Traumatic Experiences

  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse or assault
  • Separation from a parent
  • Mental abuse
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of a loved one/grief
  • Forced displacement
  • System-induced trauma
  • Political and historical trauma
  • Serious accidents or injuries

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What Does Trauma Look and Feel Like?

Sexual, emotional, mental, and spiritual trauma have different symptoms and affects each person differently. Trauma has noticeable emotional, mental, and physical symptoms. Including:

  • Shock, denial or disbelief
  • Anger
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Depression, anxiety, and other co-occurring disorders
  • Shame, guilt, and self-blame
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Obsessive or intrusive thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Jumpiness
  • Drug or alcohol dependency

These symptoms can last days, months, and even years.  In many cases, people turn to drugs and alcohol to soothe traumatic events in their lives, which can evolve into a debilitating addiction as they continue to self-medicate. Many in recovery have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety, depression, shame, or guilt stemming from unresolved traumatic events.

Trauma Resolution

Trauma Resolution Is A Critical Part Of The Clinical Treatment Of AddictionResolving trauma has many benefits and will often lead to a life of freedom, peace, and transformation. Common types of therapies available to patients once they enter rehab facilities can vary from spiritual modalities to traditional clinical-based therapies. Once a patient enters into an inpatient rehab facility, they speak to a therapist who analyzes the treatments for new patients. The therapist evaluates the patient’s substance abuse history and looks for any co-occurring disorders, with a sensitivity to traumatic events.

While patients remain in rehab, they can talk to a counselor, engage in psychotherapy, and begin reflective healing and meditation sessions while undergoing detox or immediately thereafter. These complimentary systems of healing create balance in removing harmful chemicals from the body and helping the patient prevent future use, reducing rates of relapses. When patients take control of the trauma underlying their addiction, they can return to a life of purpose, passion, and freedom without fear.

The Trauma Resolution Process

Trauma resolution stabilizes the patient while in their current traumatic state and creates a sense of safety from further traumatic events. A basic process in trauma resolution is allowing the person to mourn and recall distressing events. The patient can use mindfulness mediation, for example, to focus on sensations related to trauma and focus on the present moment. This process helps the patient recall experiences which may have caused trauma, enabling them to express the trauma.

Another phase of trauma resolution reinforces connection and integration. Patients reconnect to a new sense of purpose beyond the trauma. In this final stage, patients can be integrated into peer groups like 12-step programs or other available groups that offer for ongoing support.

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Common Trauma Resolution Methods

Somatic Experience for Trauma Resolution

Somatic experiencing is a gentle approach to mind-body healing, as it resets the nervous system.  When patients feel threatened, they may respond by fighting, freezing, or running away from the source of distress. This affects the nervous system by cycling between different states of consciousness. Somatic experiencing enables them to focus on bodily sensations expressed as crying or shaking for healing.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Trauma Resolution

Cognitive behavioral therapy involves talk psychotherapy. Patients in rehab can speak with a therapist concerning traumatic experiences and co-occurring disorders. Therapists provide patients with coping mechanisms, identify underlying causes of stress and trauma, and assist the patient resolve conflict to manage symptoms of trauma. Co-occurring disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, and other co-occurring disorders are then treated.

Know Someone Whose Needs Help Resolving Trauma?

If you or someone you know is suffering with addiction, a treatment expert is available to assist them. Contact a treatment professional in order to uncover the best rehab facility available, with a multitude of healing practices. Therapists are available to connect with patients and heal them using cutting-edge therapies. Discover ways to change you or a loved one’s life today.

Last Edited: April 17, 2018

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