Trauma Resolution Therapy for Addiction

Trauma and Addiction

Why Trauma Resolution Therapy?

A quality addiction treatment program will utilize many different types of treatment so as to give an individual the best possible opportunity to achieve lasting sobriety. Among the many types of therapy used, trauma resolution therapy can be intensely valuable to patients who have suffered from some type of trauma in their pasts. At Serene Beginnings, trauma resolution therapy is just one of many tools that play vital roles in the recovery journey.

How They Relate

Trauma and Substance Abuse

There are many reasons why a person might begin to abuse alcohol or drugs. For some, substance abuse results from having been exposed to alcohol and drug abuse in childhood, an extremely impressionable time in a person’s life. There are also many people who become addicted to a mind-altering substance as a result of being part of a peer group that consists of other substance abusers. Of course, some people develop addictions incidentally after having simply experimented with alcohol or drug use and that experimentation spiraled out of control. However, one of the most common causes of addiction is the use of alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medicating, oftentimes due to the experience of some type of trauma in one’s past. In such instances, it’s often the case that the people who self-medicate with alcohol or drugs are individuals who have suffered from physical, emotional, or perhaps even sexual abuse in the past, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder being a driving force behind their substance abuse.

Of course, there are many types of trauma besides just physical and sexual trauma. In fact, trauma can refer to a wide variety of different experiences. Someone who goes through a difficult divorce might consider the experience to be traumatic. As well, the loss of a close friend or loved one is often considered to be a traumatic experience. In effect, the term “trauma” implies that a person suffered from some sort of experience that resulted in significant and lasting mental, emotional, and/or physical distress with “lasting” being an important qualifier. If the inciting event is something that does not leave a lasting impression on the individual, it’s likely that the effects of that event wouldn’t be considered trauma; instead, people who are traumatized tend to experience lingering effects from the inciting event. In many cases, the trauma results in reoccurring distress as the victims of trauma re-experience their suffering — an experience that can either be provoked or seemingly random — intermittently over extended periods of time, which is why trauma victims often become desperate for relief.

The reason that trauma so often results in substance abuse is that the people who have suffered trauma become so desperate for relief that they begin to use alcohol and drugs as a means of alleviating their distress. Much like a person would take medicine for relief from the symptoms of the flu, the idea is that the effects of a mind-altering substance will offer a reprieve from the lingering effects of trauma, even if the relief is only temporary. But because the relief that alcohol and drugs can provide is only temporary, individuals must continue to abuse these addictive substances if they want to continue to get some relief from the effects of their trauma. This is how people who have suffered from trauma can develop addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Let's Go Deeper

What is Trauma Resolution Therapy?

Every form of treatment or therapy has certain use cases, which are instances when the therapeutic technique will offer a person some level of relief from certain symptoms or perhaps a strategy for working through mental and emotional distress. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to identify the causes of maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors so that the individual can apply strategies for overcoming these maladaptive cognitions. However, other types of treatment have much more specific focuses and offer the greatest benefits to individuals who suffer from particular types of distress. Trauma resolution therapy is one such form of treatment, offering those who have been victims of trauma a means of overcoming the lingering effects of their prior traumas.

Part of the efficacy of trauma resolution therapy is dependent on how the brain tends to store the memories of trauma differently and separately from other memories. Thus, when a memory of trauma is evoked, the person will usually begin to experience the mental and emotional distress that he or she had felt during the actual traumatic event; this is casually referred to as “reliving” the experience. Therefore, the goal of trauma resolution therapy is to sever ties between the memory of a traumatic event and the psychological distress the memory evokes; in other words, the ultimate goal of this type of treatment is to “resolve” the trauma so those thoughts of the traumatic event don’t cause profound pain and distress in the present.

How We Use Trauma Resolution Therapy at Serene Beginnings

Benefits of Our Trauma Resolution Therapy In Delray Beach

It’s currently estimated that 8 percent of all Americans will suffer from some type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. If that seems like a significant number, consider the current estimate that 34 percent of men and 27 percent of women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder also suffer from some type of addiction or substance abuse disorder. These statistics show that, even though there’s not a direct causal link between addiction and post-traumatic stress, there are certainly elevated rates of addiction among those who suffer from trauma than there is addiction in the general population. For this reason, trauma resolution therapy is an incredibly valuable tool for numerous people who are in recovery from addiction.

There are many benefits to trauma resolution therapy, especially when it’s used as part of an individual’s addiction treatment plan. Of course, the most obvious benefit is that it helps a person to process the experience of trauma so that it doesn’t continue to evoke pain and distress over the course of his or her life. But perhaps the most important benefit is that it helps to fortify or protect newfound sobriety by minimizing the likelihood that ongoing distress from past trauma will cause an individual to seek alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medication for that trauma in the future. In other words, with trauma and post-traumatic stress being a significant trigger for substance abuse, trauma resolution therapy can significantly decrease a patient’s likelihood of relapse.

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