Many factors can contribute to the development of a drug or alcohol addiction. Trauma, for example, is a common precursor to substance abuse and addiction. Because of this, Crestview Recovery includes trauma therapy in our rehab programs. This allows patients to address any history of trauma and focus on their recovery.

young woman in trauma therapy

Identifying and Understanding Trauma

Not all individuals with a history of trauma identify as the victims or witnesses of traumatic events. This can happen for several reasons. Sometimes, patients have repressed memories of trauma. In other cases, patients think the behavior was normal, or they may be too embarrassed to discuss it.

Trauma-informed therapy can be especially helpful when patients have repressed traumatic experiences in the past. This is particularly true among those who were very young when the trauma occurred. Reconstructing the scene and asking specific questions about the experience might bring it to memory. This isn’t meant to be hurtful, but to lead to a resolution. However, the process can be difficult for some.

Therapy can also help patients understand that trauma isn’t a normal experience. Those who suffered from issues like domestic violence or sexual assault at a young age might believe that all individuals struggle with these issues. Identifying them as wrong and unusual helps prevent individuals from keeping silent in the future.

Finally, therapy can be an outlet for those who haven’t verbalized their trauma in the past. It’s unsettling to discuss trauma for most individuals. However, it’s a necessary step for recovery in many cases. Patients might talk about a traumatic experience such as:

  • Witnessing a violent crime
  • Being physically attacked
  • Being a victim of sexual abuse or assault
  • Military action

Using Therapy to Create Resolution

A major goal of trauma therapy is creating some kind of resolution. This can mean different things depending on individual experiences. It could include internal forgiveness, external forgiveness or simply acceptance.

Far too many people in therapy blame themselves for trauma in their past. This is misplaced and misguided, but granting inner forgiveness isn’t always easy. Therapy can help eliminate guilt and grant peace to those tormented by traumatic experiences.

Therapy can also give patients the strength to forgive others, which is no easy feat. Sometimes violence or trauma in the past has to be forgiven in order for patients to move on. Other times, patients need to accept the reality of the situation without emotional reaction. This can help with the healing process.

Creating Ways to Deal With the Ramifications of Trauma

A history of trauma can negatively impact life in many ways. Often, trauma leads to stress, anger or isolation, all three of which can lead to addiction. In therapy, patients come up with ways to deal with these feelings in a healthier way.

In the case of patients who become angry, physical exercise might be a way to find relief. For patients who feel isolated and alone when traumatic memories crop up, finding a local support group meeting can be critical. Journaling, cooking, singing and volunteering are all potential sources of comfort as well.

Trauma Therapy as Part of a Comprehensive Recovery Plan

While trauma therapy is a key part of recovery for many patients, it’s not the only element. For the best chance at successful recovery from addiction, rehab centers should offer a range of therapy methods. Combining trauma-informed therapy with group therapy, education, awareness, and holistic therapy, it can help patients regain a zest for the life and the tools to fight against addiction.

For a full continuum of care, Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon, is a fantastic choice. Call 866-262-0531 to learn more about rehab programs and begin taking the first steps toward a lifetime of sobriety.