Addiction and trauma therapy go hand in hand, as so many drug and alcohol abusers have some traumatic experience in their lives that led to their substance abuse. While there are no types of trauma therapy that can heal you overnight, at Buckhead Behavioral Health, our trauma therapy in Atlanta can be the beginning steps to help you navigate through your trauma without the use of drugs and alcohol.
What Is Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy helps treat the results that come from a person experiencing trauma. The trauma may be ongoing, have happened recently, or even go back as far as their childhood. People who suffer from trauma sometimes deny the trauma even took place. They often suffer from great shame and embarrassment, and they may choose to block the traumatic events out. They could feel guilt and blame themselves for something that was not their responsibility.
Many events fall under the heading of trauma. Common ones include:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic violence
- Violent acts done by a stranger
- Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes
- Neglect during childhood
- Acts witnessed or participated in during military service
- The death of a loved one
- Prolonged illness
- Divorce or the ending of other relationships
Trauma therapy in Atlanta can help a person understand if what they went through qualifies as trauma. From there, a plan to treat the trauma can be devised, allowing them to move past it.
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma
Many signs and symptoms that someone has been through trauma exist. Some are physical or behavioral in nature, such as:
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Nausea and vomiting
- Digestive conditions
- Unexplained body aches and pains
- Easily startled
- Easily angered
- Difficulty thinking or making decisions
- Avoidance of people or places that remind the person of the trauma
Emotional signs and symptoms may also occur, including feeling anxiety, having panic attacks, or periods of depression. Flashbacks also commonly happen to many people. Some people may experience suicidal ideation or attempts. They may also abuse drugs or alcohol in order to try to self-medicate.
Types of Trauma Therapy in Atlanta
Many types of treatment are available as part of trauma therapy in Atlanta. One of the hallmarks includes individual therapy in which a person speaks one-on-one with a therapist trained to treat trauma. Many people also participate in group therapy with others who have dealt with the effects of trauma.
Holistic therapy often plays a part in treatment. Many people in the throes of trauma benefit from this approach to treating the mind, body, and spirit. Medication-assisted therapy also provides a way to help combine the supervised use of appropriate medications with healing from trauma. Because trauma often affects more than one person in a family, many people also participate in family therapy as a way of healing.
The Connection Between Trauma And Addiction
These symptoms can lead to addiction, and trauma treatment is one way to solve the initial problem.
Soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at a greater risk of succumbing to drug or alcohol abuse because of the trauma.
Developing treatment for the trauma alongside traditional treatment for substance abuse disorder, has shown to improve a patient’s performance and recovery time. By dealing with the issue that led to substance abuse, trauma therapy can help minimize relapses and help a full recovery.
Using Trauma Therapy in a Drug Rehab Program
About half of people who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol also cope with at least one mental illness. Because of this, many programs combine trauma therapy with treatment for addiction. In fact, many people who dealt with trauma end up trying to self-medicate the after-effects by drinking or using drugs. Sadly, this can lead to a substance use disorder, which only compounds the problem.
Soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at a greater risk of succumbing to drug or alcohol abuse because of the trauma they experienced during military service. Developing treatment for the trauma alongside traditional treatment for substance use disorder has been shown to improve a person’s health and recovery time. By dealing with the issue that led to substance abuse, trauma therapy can help minimize relapses and achieve a full recovery.
When someone deals with their PTSD or early warning signs of PTSD in a healthy way, they often find their cravings to use drugs or alcohol decrease. Conversely, someone who does not abuse substances anymore often finds they do not feel as big of an impact from mental illness symptoms. Combining treatment for trauma and addiction helps people overcome both conditions quicker than if they addressed them separately.
Three Steps to Addiction and Trauma Treatment
When a person decides to get help for addiction and trauma, treatment facilitators recognize three basic steps that must take place. These steps help the person receiving care to feel heard, understood, and safe. It also gives them a solid overview of what they can expect during treatment. Treatment providers follow these three steps:
Step 1: Recognize and understand the trauma victims’ opinions, respect them and their experiences, and have an optimistic view of their recovery.
Step 2: Learn what connects the person’s trauma to their substance abuse and identify the triggers, emotions, and resulting behaviors related to the connection.
Step 3: Work alongside other treatments, agencies, friends, and families of the trauma survivor, as warranted, in order to empower them and create lasting recovery.
How Is Trauma Treated in Atlanta?
Someone seeking trauma therapy in Atlanta will undergo four basic phases of treatment. Each one will be explained to them so they know what to expect. The phases are as follows:
Phase 1: Grounding & Safe Space
The first phase of trauma therapy will establish trust and safety for the individual. This allows them to work in a safe space where they can share without judgment or shame. This phase also helps the person learn to trust themselves and feel safer in the world around them.
Phase 2: Changing Belief Systems
Every trauma patient has a set of beliefs that started from the trauma and continued later in life. As the trauma stays unresolved, those irrational thoughts lead to emotional reactions, anxiety, depression, fear, and other things. Phase 2 begins to change those belief systems so the person can learn about their trauma in a new way and start to resolve the issues that inform their belief systems.
Phase 3: Reconnection & Transition
In this phase, the patient has already begun to see the mental change from their addiction, and their outlook on life starts to shift. This phase takes those foundational steps and builds on them with more challenges, role-playing, and practicing new mental skills. Patients can learn more about the triggers that relate to their trauma and develop a management system to deal with them.
Phase 4: Preparing For The Fututre
The last phase helps the person prepare for their future. They may learn and practice new life skills, relationship development and management. They work to gain a full understanding of their triggers so they can effectively manage them. The individual will also learn how to prepare for the unexpected and deal with issues as they arise in a healthy manner.
Addiction and Trauma Treatment Plans
Trauma treatment plans include grief and loss counseling, peer or individual support groups, and group therapy sessions. It may also include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which includes medication to decrease symptoms, or an array of holistic treatment practices.
Patients could use exposure therapy practices alongside coping skill development and emotional regulation. Patients learn how to structure their cognitive abilities, think differently about their trauma, and begin the path of acceptance and recovery.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lay out 6 principles of good trauma treatment.
- A safe environment
- Peer support groups
- Collaboration with family, friends or groups
- Empowerment, voice, and choice.
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender-related issues.
- The lesson that addiction blocks you from healing trauma
Trauma Therapy in Atlanta
If you have dealt with trauma, no matter how recently or how far back, it has likely negatively impacted your life. Buckhead Behavioral Health employs effective treatment methods that help you overcome both the effects of trauma and any accompanying addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our trauma therapy in Atlanta program offers individualized treatment that helps you meet your goals and become healthy in mind and body. Our multidisciplinary staff specializes in evidence-based practices to help you recover from addiction and trauma in a safe and structured setting free from distractions.
Learn more about our admissions process and get started on a path to healing from trauma.