Many people use drugs or alcohol to cope with distressing events from their past. Trauma can come about from going through, witnessing or being threatened by an event that involves physical or psychological injury. It can leave you with feelings of helplessness, fear, and panic. Undergoing trauma therapy as part of a holistic substance abuse treatment program can help you feel safe and connected, which may improve your chances of successful recovery.
Addiction Can Prevent You From Resolving Your Trauma
Traumatic situations can involve abuse, domestic violence, neglect, bullying, death, loss, accidents, breakups, natural disasters, robbery or other adverse events. Of course, these types of occurrences don’t leave scars on everyone. However, you must process them in order to heal.
Processing emotions often involves being aware of them. Bringing overwhelming feelings and thoughts to the surface can be painful. Instead of working to resolve these issues, many people ignore them. For some, this is not a choice; traumatic events can lead you to shut down to protect yourself from further harm.
If you have trouble managing your emotions, drugs, and alcohol serve as coping mechanisms for numbing the intensity of these feelings. You may think that if you don’t experience the tormenting emotions, you can go about your daily life productively. Unfortunately, suppressed traumatic events remain in your subconscious mind. Even if you don’t recall them on a regular basis, they may affect everything that you do.
At the same time, if you don’t work to process and heal from the emotions, they’ll remain trapped. Although abusing substances might make you feel like you’re managing your emotions, you must feel in order to heal.
What Are The Goals Of Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy aims to reduce or get rid of trauma symptoms so that you can regain your personal power, reconnect with yourself and others, improve your daily functioning and eliminate negative behaviors that you use to cope with the disturbance. Your own goals may differ from those of your therapist. Therefore, it’s essential to work with a professional who can customize your treatment plan to suit your needs.
When you go through an upsetting experience, your body reacts by elevating levels of stress hormones. Those may go into overdrive every time that you think about the event, making you feel anxious, interfering with your sleep and making you avoid situations that trigger the same response. Elevated levels of stress hormones can affect your physical health over the long term. One goal of trauma therapy is to reduce the physical reactions that you continue to have.
Your brain changes when something distressing happens to you. Trauma therapy aims to help you develop coping strategies that prevent your thoughts and emotions from skyrocketing out of control. The intention is to set yourself up with strategies that don’t involve using substances.
Types Of Trauma Therapy
The same type of therapy doesn’t work well for everyone. However, there is scientific evidence to support the use of particular therapeutic approaches to trauma. Some of the trauma therapy treatments that we use at Gateway Foundation Joliet include the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Group therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Mindfulness-Based Therapy
Substance abuse disorders often co-occur with other mental health issues. Therefore, the professionals with whom you work should be able to facilitate dual diagnosis treatment to ensure that you receive well-rounded healing.
If you’re wondering if trauma therapy is right for you, call Gateway Foundation Joliet at 815.206.8477. We can tell you more about the array of services that we tailor to each patient to help them resolve traumas, find peace within themselves and succeed in recovery.