Trauma Therapy for Recovery for Life

When a person experiences a negative life-changing event, it can be very traumatic. As a result, that person may develop PTSD and become so haunted by his or her past trauma that he or she needs to receive trauma therapy and treatment for it. 

Not every individual’s experience with trauma is the same. In fact, there are varying types of trauma that a person can experience. There are also varying signs and symptoms of trauma that a person can display. Over time, the toll that the symptoms of trauma can take on a person can lead individuals to abuse substances to cope. 

This abuse of substances while suffering from trauma or PTSD may then turn into a co-occurring disorder of PTSD and addiction. Once a person develops PTSD and addiction, he or she must attend dual diagnosis treatment

Once a person experiences trauma, his or her life is never the same, especially when that trauma is accompanied by addiction. Continue reading to learn just how much of an impact trauma can have on a person’s life and how extensive the recovery process for trauma and addiction can be.   

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a negative, life-changing event that alters your life to the point where any reminder of that experience causes you to have a physiological response. Trauma can come in many different ways. As a result, what is very traumatic for one person may not be that traumatic for the next. 

Forms of Trauma

There are many different types of trauma that a person can experience in this world. All of these different types of trauma come in one of several forms. The primary forms of trauma are acute trauma, chronic trauma, complex trauma, and secondary or vicarious trauma. 

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma is one single stressed or traumatic event. An example of acute trauma is seeing your one and only pet dog dying through your own eyes. 

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma is repeated or prolonged exposure to traumatic events. An example of chronic trauma is going through sexual or domestic abuse over and over again.  

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma is exposure to many traumatic events. An example of complex trauma is going through the trauma of losing a loved one, obtaining a chronic illness, and getting physically abused within a short period of time. 

Complex trauma is generally unforeseen as it comprises of a series of different traumatic moments. 

Secondary or Vicarious Trauma

Secondary, or vicarious trauma, is when a person experiences trauma symptoms after being close to a person that’s experienced a traumatic event. An example of secondary or vicarious trauma is when a person that is an immediate relative of someone that got physically attacked, starts to experience nightmares about being attacked and not being able to help his or her loved one from also being attacked. 

Healthcare workers often suffer from secondary trauma as a result of constantly taking care of individuals who have suffered traumatic events. 

Types of Trauma

There are many different types of trauma. For example, trauma can come from things like the death of a loved one, a car accident, physical, mental, or emotional abuse, and participating in war as an army veteran. 

Other common types of trauma include:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Life-threatening illnesses or events
  • Being robbed or attacked
  • Being kidnapped
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Natural disasters
  • Neglect
  • Sexual assault
  • Historical trauma
  • Medical trauma
  • Community violence
  • Traumatic grief/separation
  • System-induced trauma or retraumatization due to situations like being removed from the home due to the welfare system
  • Forced displacement
  • Witnessing trauma or crime

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

There are countless signs and symptoms that a person that has gone through trauma may exhibit. These signs and symptoms of trauma can vary from being psychological, physical, or behavioral in nature.

Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Anger and irritability
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear and paranoia
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Depression symptoms
  • Detaching from others
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feelings of shame and guilt
  • Emotional shock

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Always being on edge, constantly alert, startled, and aroused
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Re-occurring fatigue and exhaustion
  • Muscle tension and chronic muscle patterns
  • Body aches and pains
  • Sexual dysfunction

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

  • Avoiding places, people, and things that remind the person of the trauma
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Self-isolation and social withdrawal
  • Engagement in risky behavior
  • Abusing substances
  • Neglecting personal care or hygiene

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a well-known acronym for the mental illness titled post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD develops in some people that experience trauma. For trauma to turn into PTSD, the trauma must be severe and re-occurring. 

PTSD is also characterized by the reliving of traumatic events through flashbacks and dreams. People with PTSD may also experience nightmares, severe anxiety, and frightening and uncontrollable thoughts about past trauma. 

The primary effects of PTSD can occur in one of the following categories:

Distortion of Beliefs

Distortion of beliefs is the term used to describe how people that suffer from PTSD become so paranoid and untrusting that they start to believe the worst in themselves and other people. For example, people that suffer from PTSD will often blame themselves for their past trauma. They may even stop trusting innocent bystanders due to the experiences that they had with other individuals that participated in their traumatic experience. 

Avoidance

People that suffer from PTSD may start to avoid all people, places, and things that remind them of their past trauma. This often interferes with their ability to do normal day-to-day tasks. 

Nightmares and Flashbacks

As we’ve previously mentioned, people with PTSD often experience nightmares and flashbacks. The flashbacks that people that suffer from PTSD experience are often so vivid that it seems as if the traumatic event is occurring again. 

The nightmares that people with PTSD often experience also tend to be vivid. So much so that they may cause those with PTSD to experience sleep issues. 

Lack of Interest

As people that suffer from PTSD become overwhelmed with their condition, they start to lose interest in things that they once enjoyed. The fact that people that suffer from PTSD often start to avoid other people, places and things that remind them of their trauma only adds to their growing lack of interest.

Cognitive Challenges

Over time, people with PTSD will likely struggle to concentrate and focus. This may cause them to start to distort the details of their past traumatic events. 

Trauma vs. PTSD

Although many people use the terms trauma and PTSD interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. As we previously mentioned, trauma is a negative, life-altering event that causes a person to experience a physiological response. When a person experiences trauma his or her physiological response to it can occur just once or multiple times. 

While all people that experience PTSD have also experienced trauma, not everyone that experiences trauma will experience PTSD. This is because PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an official mental health disorder

Anyone that experiences trauma can experience one or more of the signs and symptoms of trauma. When the severity of the trauma symptoms that a person experiences are severe enough to interfere with his or her ability to live everyday life though, that person likely has PTSD. 

PTSD and Addiction

Many people that suffer from PTSD develop depressive symptoms and struggle to function in life. As a result, it’s common for people that suffer from PTSD to start misusing substances to cope with life and their disorder. 

Unfortunately, misusing substances while suffering from PTSD often causes people to develop a dual diagnosis disorder of PTSD and addiction. Once this occurs, both disorders can worsen the effects of the other one, causing the ability to overcome both disorders more difficult. 

Just like PTSD can cause people to start misusing substances and form an addiction, addiction to substances can also cause people to develop PTSD. This is because chronic substance misuse can spark PTSD symptoms in someone that already has a predisposition to a mental health disorder. Addiction can also bring about PTSD because of the changes in brain chemistry that chronic substance misuse can cause. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for PTSD and Addiction

To treat a co-occurring disorder of PTSD and addiction, a person must receive professional dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment contains addiction treatment programs and mental health disorder treatment and therapy. Thus, through dual diagnosis treatment, you’ll receive treatment for your addiction and PTSD simultaneously. 

This is necessary to effectively treat both your PTSD and addiction since both disorders affect the other one. Therefore, if people that suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder made of PTSD and addiction only treat one of their disorders, the lingering disorder will cause the treated disorder to reappear. 

Trauma Therapy for Trauma and Addiction

To treat trauma and addiction, you can also receive trauma therapy. Trauma therapy helps people accept and move on from their past trauma while also helping them overcome substance misuse. 

Through trauma therapy, members can learn how to recognize and manage the harmful patterns of behavior that their past trauma has caused them to exhibit. It does this through coping skills training. 

Trauma therapy also helps members understand how their past trauma has changed them and caused them to abuse substances. By learning how their past trauma has changed them and the coping skills to help manage these harmful changes in behavior, trauma victims can also learn how to manage some of their addiction triggers. 

Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center is Here to Serve Your Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Needs

At the Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center, we focus on addiction and mental health treatment that will help you overcome your addiction and change your negative behaviors. 

Through our evidence-based recovery-oriented system of care, we create a personalized recovery plan for all of our members. Thus, whether you’re seeking dual diagnosis treatment and trauma therapy for PTSD and addiction or inpatient or outpatient treatment for some other addiction or mental health condition, you can trust that you’ll receive the best care here. 
To learn more about the Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center and the services that we provide, contact us today. Our compassionate, trained, and experienced staff members are available 24/7 to take your call. Our team will put you on the path to Recovery for Life.