Trauma and substance use disorders are thoroughly interlinked. People who experience trauma are more likely to develop substance use problems, and those who have substance use problems place themselves at higher risk of traumatic experiences. When seeking recovery, it’s essential that these traumas are addressed by trained mental health professionals in order to optimize your chances of success, and to ensure that your treatment results in greater overall mental health.
What is Trauma?
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” People respond to trauma in a number of different ways – but immediately after the event, it’s common for people to feel shock, intense negative emotions, or outright denial.
But for many people, the effects of trauma can last for months or years after the event has passed. When the symptoms of trauma continue for extended periods, it is classified as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which carries symptoms such as:
- Invasive memories about the traumatic event
- Nightmares about the traumatic event
- Experiencing flashbacks where you feel like the event is occurring again
- Attempts to avoid distressing memories or feelings
- Significant mood changes, such as anger, detachment, or an inability to experience positive emotions
- Hypervigilance, or constantly feeling on guard
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorders can lead to severe impairment. It may interfere with your ability to work, to maintain meaningful relationships, or even just to enjoy your daily life. And as a result, many people turn to substance use as means of coping with their symptoms – which can quickly spiral into addiction.
The Connection Between Trauma and Substance Use Disorders
People who live with disorders such as PTSD have dramatically higher risk of developing a substance use disorder. According to one national study, 46.4% of people who have had a diagnosis of PTSD in their lifetime also met the criteria for substance use disorders.
The connection between the disorders is relatively clear: people experiencing severe trauma symptoms crave relief, and drug or alcohol use can provide some temporary reprieve from their invasive symptoms. But these benefits are short-lived. As people continue to use substances, their PTSD symptoms can return in greater severity than ever before, leading to people using more and more substances as a form of self-medication.
This downward spiral quickly develops into an addiction, and leaves people with two mental health challenges that need to be overcome to restore their mental health. And while this does complicate the course of treatment, there is hope for achieving a lasting recovery from both disorders, with evidence-based treatment methods that can treat both disorders simultaneously.
How Integrated Trauma Treatment in Nashville Can Help
At TN Detox Center in Nashville, Tennessee, our integrated trauma treatment center focuses on helping people overcome both their substance use disorder and any trauma symptoms or disorders simultaneously. By taking a trauma-informed approach, using evidence-based trauma treatment methods, and integrating that care into our comprehensive addiction treatment program, you have every resource available to achieve a lasting and worthwhile recovery.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
The best trauma treatment centers begin with a facility-wide commitment to trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care isn’t a treatment itself, but rather an approach that extends to every element of a rehabilitation center: from your therapist, to the support staff, to admissions professionals, and anyone else in a client-facing position.
A trauma-informed facility teaches all of its staff on the effects that trauma can have on your everyday life. It helps our team recognize potentially triggering events, to offer compassion and understanding for people with experiences of trauma, and to reduce the risk of retraumatization. With trauma-informed practices at every level of care, you can feel safe and secure in your process towards recovery.
What Is Trauma Treatment?
Trauma treatment refers to the evidence-based therapies and interventions that our team uses to address traumatic symptoms and disorders directly. This could include therapies such as:
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
These therapies can offer a number of positive benefits for people who struggle with traumatic experiences. They can provide tools and strategies to help you overcome lingering symptoms of trauma, and help guide you towards regaining control over your life. They can also help people face their traumas, overcome them, and not live in fear any longer – but only when you’ve decided that you’re ready to take that step.
What Is Integrated Treatment?
TN Detox Center isn’t just a trauma treatment center – but an integrated treatment facility that helps people break free from addiction and co-occurring mental health challenges simultaneously. Integrated treatment brings both styles of treatments together under one umbrella.
Treating addiction alone leaves people with the symptoms of trauma that can ultimately lead to relapse. Treating only trauma carries similar risks, as a return to substance use can interfere with the treatment process and have your trauma symptoms return in force. But by choosing integrated treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment facility, you can achieve recovery from both disorders.
Integrated treatment is the gold-standard for addiction care, providing substantially better outcomes for clients with co-occurring conditions. It recognizes that addiction doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and that multiple life events and factors all contribute to your mental health challenges. Rather than treating a single problem at a time – we treat the whole person.
Start Treatment at TN Detox Center Today
When you or a loved one are struggling with co-occurring trauma and substance use problems, reach out to the team at TN Detox Center by calling 615-488-5311 or filling out our confidential online contact form. Our comprehensive treatment program can help you break free from addiction, work through your traumatic experiences, and will be there to help you post trauma treatment through our extensive aftercare program as well.
Living with co-occurring trauma and addiction can be incredibly difficult. But the path to recovery can be simple: all you need to do is make the call to start your healing journey today.