Whether unresolved childhood trauma, experiencing a traumatic event, or ongoing day-to-day trauma, the pain of trauma is a significant contributor to addiction. Unfortunately, many who struggle with trauma turn to drugs and alcohol to help dull the symptoms they experience each day as they struggle to manage their trauma. Sadly, addiction to drugs or alcohol often makes symptoms worse and the ability to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety challenging. It is essential to seek treatment at a treatment center where the program will address both your underlying trauma and your addiction. Failing to treat both conditions will likely lead to a continued cycle of substance abuse and relapse. At Rise in Malibu, our caring and compassionate treatment team will help you heal using evidence-based therapeutic treatments designed specifically to help you heal and overcome addiction.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction, commonly referred to as a substance use disorder is a complex disease. Contrary to long-held opinions, addiction is indeed a disease. Addiction is characterized by the inability to stop or reduce using a substance despite known harmful or dangerous effects. Someone who struggles with addiction has an intense and overwhelming focus on obtaining and using a particular substance or substances (including alcohol or drugs) to the point where using impacts day-to-day functioning.
Without treatment, long-term addiction leads to physical and functional changes to the brain. The areas of the brain that control judgment, decision making, learning, behavior, and memory are affected by long-term drug and alcohol use.
What Is Trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is defined as an emotional response to a “terrible event” such as a natural disaster, accident, or similar. Traumatic reactions to an event can occur immediately after the event or at a later time. The most common emotions that arise immediately include denial, shock, and fear. Long-term reactions are often unpredictable emotional, behavioral, and physical responses. Examples may include flashbacks, headaches, nausea, difficulties sleeping, and the inability to maintain personal relationships.
The Importance of Addiction and Trauma Treatment
Trauma leads to a range of painful, negative emotions and stressors. These emotions can be so challenging to deal with that those who struggle with trauma turn to unhealthy coping strategies such as drugs or alcohol. Some people will turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder. Others will turn to substances to help alleviate the pain that may be associated with a traumatic event.
Trauma and substance abuse are frequently co-occurring disorders. Therefore, like other co-occurring disorders (or dual-diagnosis conditions), they must be addressed simultaneously as part of a comprehensive treatment program. At Rise in Malibu, we understand the value of co-occurring disorder treatment and how essential specialized co-occurring disorder treatment models are to providing the tools needed for lasting recovery.
It is also important to consider how traumatic events are addressed as part of a treatment program. Trauma-informed programs are treatment models that treat the whole person, not just the symptoms related to your addiction or the trauma. Trauma-informed care provides the most comprehensive and effective treatment approach. During therapy, you will examine how trauma may have led to addictive behaviors. Once you understand how trauma may have contributed (or continues to contribute) to your addiction, overcoming addiction is possible. As part of a trauma-informed therapy approach, you will learn new, safer skills for coping with trauma symptoms. These skills can be called upon in the future when faced with stressful or triggering situations.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and trauma, seeking comprehensive treatment at Rise in Malibu can help you get well. To learn more about trauma-informed therapy, contact the admissions team at Rise in Malibu today.