Trauma therapy can be a powerful tool when helping clients overcome a substance abuse problem. Since the experience is highly personal, what one individual perceives as traumatic may not elicit the same response in another. For this reason, therapists working with people in addiction counseling will do well to listen for distress responses. If you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, you might also be dealing with an unresolved experience.
Understanding the Scope of Traumatic Experiences
Within the definition of trauma therapy, experts assist clients who underwent personal injuries or witnessed them. Examples would include child abuse, sexual assault, combat, significant personal losses, and physical attacks. At the heart of trauma is a feeling of profound helplessness, terror, or fear. Memories of these incidents trigger patterns of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors today.
Individuals who underwent such experiences may respond in a variety of ways. Some blame themselves, suffer from low self-esteem or carry guilt. Others suffer from thoughts and feelings that come on at inopportune times. During trauma therapy, it becomes evident that many self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to quiet these feelings and thoughts.
Why Addiction Counseling and Trauma Therapy Must Address Past Events
Experiencing a traumatic incident heightens your risk of abusing a substance. But it also works the other way around. Being high or drunk makes it more likely that you may undergo a traumatic event. Ironically, those who could benefit the most from trauma therapy will typically try to wave it away. They don’t usually feel that what they underwent is as bad as what some other people experienced.
What these clients don’t realize is that it’s impossible to measure traumatic experiences side by side. Rather, what matters is simply the fact that the experience was more than you could handle at the time. Because the event went beyond your coping abilities, you deal with unresolved issues that affect current situations. That said, it’s important to recognize that there isn’t a quick fix.
Overcoming Traumatic Experiences Against the Backdrop of Addiction Counseling
You probably won’t leave the facility feeling that you’ve completely finished your healing. Instead, you’ll be able to recognize triggers, trigger responses, and counteract intrusive thoughts and feelings with what you learned in addiction counseling. This type of trauma therapy comes with a variety of adjunct modalities such as:
- Integrated addiction model that combines the treatment of dependency with mental health symptoms that occur at the same time
- Whole person treatment that allows for stays at the facility as short as 30 days or over 90 days, as needed
- Fitness options that include kayaking or weight machines at a workout facility
- Nutritional support during recovery by highly trained chefs who prepare farm to table meals
- Experiential therapy options that provide the ability to express yourself through art or equine therapy
When combined with these modalities in a therapeutic setting, trauma therapy makes it possible to work through these unresolved experiences. For example, seasoned therapists will assist you in transferring reactions to traumatic events into a place of reason. Doing so renders the experiences powerless to elicit strong emotional reactions that may result in negative patterns.
Relaxation techniques assist this process. The more frequently you have an opportunity to practice this step, the more likely you are to overcome adverse reactions. At the same time, you gradually examine the event in a scientific manner, which can help with perception changes. Going through these exercises lessens the volatile nature of your reactions and the potential need for self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
Do You Need Help Processing Experiences to Move Past a Substance Abuse Problem?
Healing Springs Ranch therapists recognize that the connection between drug addiction and traumatic experiences is strong. Moreover, they understand that you cannot tackle addiction without getting to the root of the problem. While not every client will suffer because of an unresolved past event, many do just that. Helping them overcome the experience provides a greater degree of relapse prevention.
If you’re struggling with a substance abuse problem and you wonder if this therapy could help, reach out for assistance. Our therapists work with you to get to the “why” of your addiction and then help you move past it. Call us today at 866-656-8384 for immediate attention your addiction and what lies beneath it.