Trauma is a physical and psychological response to a traumatic event. Approximately 70% of all American adults have experienced at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives. And while there are people who can go through a traumatic event without suffering damaging repercussions, there are several who find themselves grappling with the after effects of trauma. That is because trauma is subjective and impacts people differently, even if two people experience the exact same trauma. Either way, when someone has survived a traumatic event, they can be left with the remnants of that trauma. And if those remnants are not addressed, they can create serious problems. These problems with trauma range from addiction and suicide to depression and anxiety which may require treatment.
What Causes Trauma?
To best understand trauma, it is important to know what causes trauma. It is a common misconception that someone can only be traumatized by a major event, but that is untrue. Even small traumatic events can create challenges for survivors.
Since everyone is different and unique in their own ways, anything can be traumatic. One person might find severe turbulence on a plane traumatic while another person might brush it off as just another minor life event. Factors such as one’s current mental state, personal history, outlook, and your personality all play a role in how you process traumatic events.
Despite everyone’s traumatic experiences varying from one another, there are several commonly shared causes of trauma, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse or assault
- Verbal abuse
- Community violence
- Combat exposure
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist attacks
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- Neglect or abandonment
Roughly 20% of individuals who experience traumatic events like those listed above or other unnamed traumatic events will go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. When that occurs, a number of physical and psychological complications can develop. Addiction is a common development following trauma which is why it is imperative to find a treatment center that specializes in treating both.
The Impacts of Trauma
When a traumatic event occurs, it can cause serious impacts on the brain. As the event is occurring, the brain is being overwhelmed with an array of intense emotions and sensations. The cells in the brain are unable to store the memory of the traumatic event properly, which is why it can feel like the trauma lives on even after the event is over. It is possible that those who experience trauma wind up dealing with a sense of dissociation, where their brain is still processing what has occurred but the information has not been pushed into memory yet (think of an adult who suddenly remembers they were sexually abused as a child later on in life). Either way, the brain often does not function properly when a traumatic event is occurring, causing these impacts.
As the brain works to handle the effects of trauma, other issues can develop. Individuals may begin exhibiting symptoms of anxiety or depression or turn to the abuse of drugs and alcohol in an effort to self-medicate their symptoms. When these problems come to the forefront and are not properly treated, they not only make the effects of the trauma worse, but also become more intense in severity themselves.
Some of the most commonly experienced effects of trauma can include the following:
- Mental fog
- Emotional dysregulation
Again, everyone responds to trauma differently. As mentioned before, many individuals find themselves turning to the empty comfort of alcohol or drugs to cope with the trauma they have experienced. Unfortunately, this usually only makes things worse.
Trauma and Addiction
There is a strong link between trauma and addiction for a number of reasons. For example, experiencing one or more traumatic events can develop a lack of emotional regulation. Individuals may find themselves struggling to soothe themselves or make sense of their experiences. Trauma is a major trigger for substance abuse. Abusing drugs and alcohol can feel like an easy way to forget all the effects one is facing. The more that substances are abused in an effort to cope with unresolved feelings, the more the body becomes tolerant, and eventually dependent, on drugs or alcohol. At that point, when an addiction is occurring, the symptoms of the unresolved trauma grow more intense and the effects of the addiction add a whole new layer of complexity into the mix. Reports show that anywhere from 21-43% of trauma survivors also have a substance use disorder.
Trauma and Addiction Treatment in West Palm Beach, FL
The best way to prevent the residual effects of trauma from growing worse is to seek professional help. While in the care of a qualified professional, an individual can engage in a number of various therapies that have been proven to help alleviate the intensity of PTSD symptoms. At Ambrosia Treatment Center in West Palm Beach, FL, we provide many resources for our clients experiencing the after effects of trauma and addiction, including the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Exposure therapy
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
When individuals come to Ambrosia with a history of substance abuse, we include added layers of care into the addiction and trauma treatment plan they will engage in. Not only will we focus on implementing participation in therapies such as those listed about, but we will also assist in the detox process and psychological support needed to help individuals address both their trauma and their addiction at the same time.
Our goal in treating trauma is to help survivors live in the present without feeling or behaving according to irrelevant demands belonging to the past. This means that traumatic experiences need to be located in time and place and distinguished from reality. At Ambrosia Treatment Center, we not only utilize the above listed therapies to help achieve that goal, but also implement the following:
- Somatic imaging
- Breath work
- 12-Step programming
- Grief and loss workshops
With the support of our team at Ambrosia treatment center, we can help you or your loved ones overcome the most difficult aspects of residual trauma so that life can once again be enjoyed. Begin the admissions process today to get started on your recovery from trauma and addiction.