What is Trauma-Informed Care in Addiction Treatment?

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Trauma may be an underlying issue that is driving your addiction to drugs or alcohol. While in recovery from addiction, you may need to address these underlying issues to manage your addiction at the source. By treating the trauma that triggers you to drink or use drugs, you can address the issue at the heart of your addiction. When a recovery center states that they are “trauma-informed” in their approach to recovery, what does this mean? What kind of treatment approaches can an addiction treatment program offer to address underlying trauma? If you are dealing with trauma in your life and are using an addiction to mask the issue, you might be best treated by a recovery center that understands your needs. Everlast Recovery Centers in Riverside, California may be able to help you with our “trauma-informed” care.

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is an approach to recovery that looks at the trauma that may cause or escalate a person’s addictions. Trauma-informed care involves focusing on the whole person rather than just seeing their problems or addiction. You can consider the approach in trauma-informed care to discuss what happened to you rather than what is wrong with you. Trauma-informed care means understanding that oftentimes, addictions are rooted in underlying issues stemming from past experiences. You may have experienced a life-threatening, disturbing, or shocking event in your past. You may have been the victim of sexual assault or a physical attack. You may have been in danger while in the line of duty as a police officer or military personnel. You may have been in an abusive long-term relationship or come from a troubled childhood. These past experiences may be the underlying cause of your addiction.

Trauma-informed care seeks to teach those suffering from addiction better ways to cope with their trauma. The belief is that by addressing these underlying issues, a person can best recover from their addiction and live their best life. You may have difficulty with addiction because you have abused substances to cope with feelings associated with trauma. You may feel that drugs and alcohol help to numb your painful memories. Your addiction may be how you handle dealing with flashbacks or help you to forget about what has happened. With trauma-informed care in treatment, you can begin to learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with painful and negative emotions brought on by past traumas. Treating the behaviors at the source can help you manage your addiction and get your life back.

EMDR and CBT for Trauma

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can help those suffering from trauma, as well as, other underlying issues, like anxiety or depression. EMDR is a therapeutic approach that uses “bilateral stimulation” to help heal those suffering from trauma. Bilateral stimulation is any sensory activity that involves a rhythmic back-and-forth between both sides of the body. For example, you can tap back and forth on your left and right thighs (left-right-left-right) to experience bilateral stimulation. In EMDR, the therapist typically uses bilateral eye movements (moving your eyes from right to left) as the bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation can help you relax during your therapy sessions. The therapist will engage you in bilateral stimulation while talking with you about your painful emotions associated with trauma. The idea is that while you discuss painful memories in a relaxed state, your mind can begin to heal from the trauma. EMDR works on the premise that trauma and emotional pain can be healed similarly to physical wounds. By experiencing relaxing bilateral stimulation while discussing painful memories, your brain can heal by reassociating pain with neutral and relaxed feelings.

CBT or “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” can also help those dealing with trauma. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on changing irrational, distressing, or disruptive beliefs by challenging the thought patterns and memories that have created these beliefs. Your beliefs about what happened to you following trauma can influence your behaviors. Trauma can create a set of distorted beliefs that can contribute to low self-esteem or self-blame that may be fueling your addiction. CBT focuses on changing your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. A therapist in a CBT session may not dive too deeply into your traumatic experiences. They are focusing more on the beliefs you have now as a result of these events. Your therapist can help you transform your self-doubting or self-defeating beliefs into more empowering and positive beliefs. During CBT, you will challenge your beliefs by testing them and realizing that your beliefs may not hold up to reality.

Many other treatment methods are available to treat trauma. When looking for an addiction treatment center, ask about how they approach trauma when treating addiction to find the best care for your needs!

Everlast Recovery Centers in Riverside, California, can help those struggling with addictions due to past experiences of trauma. We take a trauma-informed care approach and look at the whole person. Our treatment is focused on getting to the root causes of addictive behaviors. We believe that addiction is best treated at the cause. EMDR and CBT are two treatment options that can help those suffering from trauma. EMDR focuses on healing the mind with bilateral stimulation while the person discusses their trauma with a therapist. CBT works on challenging the distorted belief systems that trauma survivors often carry with them. Holistic and alternative treatment methods have also been effective in treating trauma. To discuss the options we have for you, call Everlast Recovery Centers at 866-DETOX-25 today. We have a safe, welcoming, and open atmosphere to help you feel comfortable in treating your addiction and trauma.

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