When traumatic events occur during childhood or as an adult, it alters how you view the world and view yourself. For instance, before a traumatic event, you may have trusted people explicitly and without questioning them. After the traumatic event, you may no longer trust anyone. It is not uncommon for someone struggling with a traumatic event to eventually turn to alcohol or drug abuse as a coping mechanism. Research has already established a high probability that links traumatic events with substance abuse. Fortunately, if you experienced a traumatic event and are struggling with substance abuse, this is not the end of your story. You can find hope in knowing that help is available so you can overcome the past trauma while getting on the path of recovery. Thankfully, there are several benefits of trauma therapy.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is generally defined as an event, series of events, or circumstances that have impacted your emotional, social, spiritual, mental, or physical well-being in some manner. The trauma could be from a single event or multiple recurring events.
Types of Traumatic Events
There are several different types of traumatic events one could experience. Some of the more common traumatic events include:
- Sexual assault
- Emotional abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Terminal illness
- Domestic violence
- Natural Disasters
- Loss of a loved one
- Severe accidents
- Parental neglect
- Parental substance abuse
Traumatic events are not necessarily limited to these common occurrences. When someone feels like their life was put in danger and they survived, to them, whatever occurred was a traumatic event.
How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?
Many people who have experienced a traumatic event and have not yet dealt with it often experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Essentially, for them, they relive the event over and over, again and again. In cases where there were a series of traumatic events, like repeated sexual assault as a child, the pain becomes even more intense.
To help alleviate the pain and the feelings accompanied by reliving the trauma over and over, people will look for coping mechanisms. Sadly, the most common coping mechanism people turn to is alcohol and drugs.
Anytime they start to relive the traumatic event, they drink or use drugs to help them feel numb. When they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they do not have to face their fears and other emotions tied to the traumatic event.
However, when the effects of the alcohol or drugs begin to wear off, the post-traumatic feelings can start to return. Unfortunately, this leads to drinking more and using drugs regularly. Eventually, the person has to rely on alcohol or drugs just to function as their dependence and addiction continue to grow.
What Is Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy refers to various types of therapy treatments used to help someone face their past traumatic event and begin to overcome it. A trauma therapy program could include using:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
- Family and Couples Therapy
- Somatic Experiencing Therapy
- Mindfulness Therapy
- Meditation Techniques
The specific types of therapies used will vary from person to person based on the traumatic experience, occurrences of the event, effects it has had on their childhood and adulthood, and other such factors.
How Is Trauma Therapy Used to Treat Addiction?
Trauma therapy helps you address the traumatic event, so you can begin the healing process while working through your emotions and feelings. It can be very effective in overcoming addictions associated with your traumatic event when used alongside addiction treatment.
Other benefits of trauma therapy for substance abuse disorders include:
- Develop Effective Coping Skills – Trauma therapy arms you with coping mechanisms and skills to help you daily. These same skills can also be used to overcome substance abuse disorders.
- Increase Confidence – The safety of a treatment center allows you to process your trauma in a supportive environment. As such, you can feel more confident you will overcome your trauma and addiction.
- Reduce Fear – The fear caused by the traumatic event is reduced as you confront the trauma and your addiction.
- Reduce Avoidance – You are less likely to avoid facing your trauma and dealing with your addiction when trauma therapy is part of your addiction treatment program.
- Change Your Thought Processes – Trauma and addiction can damage the neural pathways in the brain. As you work through your trauma and addiction, the brain begins to heal itself. As it heals, your thought processes also gradually heal to allow you to have a more positive outlook on life and let go of the past.
- Build Trust – It can be difficult to trust others after traumatic events. Trauma therapy helps you learn how you can start to trust others again.
Trauma Therapy in Atlanta
If you are struggling with unresolved trauma and addiction, Buckhead Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer personalized addiction treatment programs that include trauma therapy to help you rebuild your life, address your trauma and achieve long-term success in sobriety.
For further information about our trauma therapy and addiction treatment programs, please contact us at 908-489-5564 today