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 addiction therapy programs. This allows patients to address any history of trauma and focus on their recovery.
Many factors can contribute to the development of a mental health disorder like drug or alcohol addiction. Consequently, Crestview Recovery includes trauma-informed therapy as part of our mental health and addiction treatment curriculum. This allows patients to address any history of trauma in a safe environment in order to move forward and not be trapped in the past.
Identifying and Understanding Trauma
When the brain is not able to process fear, violence, the death of a loved one, threats, or emotional abuse, it has a traumatic effect on a person’s psyche. Failing to process trauma can cause problems because people with unhealed trauma react to this trauma when confronted with day-to-day conflicts and issues. This can result in more anxiety, anger, depression, and other problems.
In fact, someone can be born with a nervous system with a predisposition toward developing post-traumatic stress disorder, but it may also happen after an injury or illness.
Trauma is not always physical on some level because emotional traumas can affect a person’s nervous system and mental health. Even though trauma may be the result of an external source, the effects on the brain manifest in the mind.
People often misunderstand post-traumatic stress disorder because of the correlation between violence and physical injury with psychological damage. However, most traumas are not direct results of physical injuries. Instead, they are the result of exposure to violence, abuse, accidents, and illness. These events can lead a person into a state where their nervous system is in constant fight-or-flight mode because the brain is constantly being activated by stress hormones.
What is Trauma-Informed Therapy?
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.
Individual 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 the victim of a physical attack
- Being a victim of sexual abuse or assault
- Military action
- A natural disaster
Trauma-informed therapy can help patients in a number of ways. First, it can help them to remember and process a repressed trauma. Second, it can help them to understand that their experience was not normal or healthy. Finally, it allows them to talk about their experience in a safe and confidential setting. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma, consider talking to a mental health professional about trauma-informed therapy.
Using Therapy to Create Resolution
A major goal of trauma therapy and mental health 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.
Therapy is an excellent outlet for those struggling to accept what has happened. It can provide a sense of understanding and peace in the face of tragedy.
No matter what form resolution takes, it can be an important step in the healing process. It can give individuals a sense of control and peace. It can allow them to move on with their lives in a more positive way.
Creating Ways to Deal with the Ramification 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 recovery support group meeting can be critical. Journaling, cooking, singing, and volunteering are all potential sources of comfort as well.
Trauma Therapy Program in Portland, Oregon
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, addiction treatment programs should offer a range of therapy methods, including dual diagnosis treatment. Combining trauma-informed therapy with group therapy, education, awareness, and holistic therapy can help patients regain a zest for life and build the tools to fight against addiction and other mental health disorders.
For trauma therapy in Portland, Oregon, Crestview Recovery is an excellent choice. Call 866.262.0531 to learn more about addiction therapy services and begin taking the first steps toward a lifetime of sobriety.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.