Trauma can take on several different forms. Most people with a mental health or substance use disorder have faced some time of trauma in their lifetime. Untreated trauma can show up as anxiety and depression, or other mental health conditions, and often leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like avoidance and substance abuse. For this reason, our addiction treatment center offers trauma therapy in Louisville, Kentucky.
Trauma results from an experience that is dangerous or disturbing. These experiences trigger a person’s “flight or fight” instinct. But, they are unable to flee or fend off a threat. As a result, they remain frozen in this state, which impacts how they view the world at large. For instance, young children living in abusive households often cannot defend themselves nor can they run away because they depend on their parents to meet their basic needs. Children growing up in these situations often struggle to feel safe and secure.
In addition, trauma can be classified as “big T” and “little t.” “Big T” traumas are things like domestic abuse, combat, a plane crash, or the unexpected death of a loved one. “Big T” traumas are events that nearly everyone would agree are traumatic. Overall, “Big T” traumas are events that threaten bodily harm to the person. They could also be witnessing another person getting severely harmed.
On the other hand, “little t” traumas are more personal and could be influenced by the coping skills a person has. For example, breaking up with a romantic partner could be traumatic to a person. The death of a pet or losing a job could also be examples of “little t” traumas. These types of traumas are usually more emotional in nature and are not physically threatening.
Regardless of the type, trauma therapy in Louisville can help clients make sense of what they are feeling. That way, they can move forward after treatment.
Each person experiences trauma differently. For example, veterans may have different trauma than non-veterans and may need specialized treatment for their symptoms. However, many clients share similar symptoms, though they might vary in severity. Symptoms of trauma can include some of the following:
These symptoms can affect a person’s emotional well-being and their overall quality of life. One of the most common unhealthy ways people cope with trauma is through avoidance. They could fear being triggered while out or don’t feel safe in certain situations. Avoidance can lead to missing opportunities or finding fulfilling relationships.
Trauma and addiction are often connected to one another. Oftentimes, a person with an addiction has had some type of trauma in their life. These could be traumas from childhood known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Many people might not make the connection between their childhood experiences and their current struggles. On the other hand, a person with trauma as an adult could be in denial of substance abuse or of the trauma altogether.
Since avoidance behaviors are common among those with trauma-related mental health disorders, substance abuse is also common. This is because substance abuse is a way of self-medicating to avoid symptoms of trauma. For instance, a person might use alcohol to calm a racing mind worried about the next threat. Or, they might use opiates to numb themselves of emotional distress. Still, others could abuse sedatives to sleep without waking from a nightmare about their trauma.
Thus, the connection between trauma and addiction has to do with avoidance. The person is trying to avoid the distressing thoughts and feelings that they experience. Since self-medicating leads to an increase in tolerance to substances, they need more and more drugs or alcohol for the same effects. As time goes on, they might struggle to get through the day without any substances at all. That is why our trauma therapy in Louisville is also part of our dual diagnosis treatment program.
Trauma disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) require a mix of treatments for recovery. Like most mental health disorders, there is no singular treatment that is effective. Rather, a person must use comprehensive treatment strategies for the best results. Overall, a person needs to open up about their experiences with others to move forward.
At Louisville Addition Center, we offer the following therapies to treat trauma and PTSD:
In addition, trauma therapy can be enhanced with holistic approaches. Activities like yoga and meditation can help a person learn techniques to relax and slow down their racing mind.
Trauma is one of the most common underlying causes of drug and alcohol addiction. Many people begin drinking or using drugs to self-medicate for symptoms of trauma and PTSD. Sometimes, they don’t even realize the impact of trauma in their lives, especially if these events occurred well into the past. At Louisville Addiction Center, we offer trauma therapy to help clients manage their symptoms and move forward in their lives. Contact us today to begin trauma therapy.
Addiction and co-occurring disorders don’t have to control your life. Louisville Addiction Center is waiting with open arms to give you the tools necessary for lasting change. Reach out to us today to learn more.