Effective Trauma and Addiction Treatment

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Understanding how trauma and addiction affect individuals and their families, along with long-term consequences, is critical in comprehending the framework for treatment. Promising trauma and addiction treatment starts with addressing the struggle and knowing that recovery is attainable.

Trauma and Addiction Treatment

What is Trauma?

Trauma typically results from horrifying experiences that cause feelings of intense fear, shock, pain, or immense discomfort. Traumatic experiences fall under different categories, including psychological, emotional, physical, and childhood. Examples of traumatic instances include being involved in a severe car accident, witnessing civilian casualty in a war zone, or being a victim of assault or abuse. Traumatic events affect the mental, psychological, and emotional state of an individual.

Symptoms of Trauma

Symptoms vary on a large spectrum depending on the type of traumatic experience and how the individual reacts. Immediate responses occur for some, while delayed reactions occur for others. The duration of the symptoms also vary, with some feeling symptoms only for a short period of time, whereas others cannot overcome as quickly and have prolonged responses. Common symptoms include the following

  • Clinging to Parent (in kids)
  • Disturbing Thoughts
  • Relapses in Memories
  • Bedwetting (in kids)
  • Avoidance/Isolation
  • Overwhelming Fear
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Irritability/Stress
  • Feeling Anxious
  • Nightmares
  • Sadness         

Many times individuals feel overwhelmed by the symptoms of trauma and self medicate with harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol. This commonly leads to a need for trauma and addiction treatment.

Treatment Options

Co-current treatment of both the trauma and the addiction is necessary for the treatment plan to be successful. Using a holistic approach includes behavioral therapies and medication. Behavioral therapy encompasses a variety of areas including the following:

  • Cognitive Therapy-Talk Therapy
  • Dialectical Therapy- Mindfulness Therapy
  • Exposure Therapy-Gaining Control of Triggers
  • Family Therapy-Involving Family Members
  • Therapeutic Communities – Residential Treatment
  • Contingency Management-Reward System

Different methods of therapy may be needed long-term in combination with medication for an individual to attain the needed trauma and addiction treatment.


Effective trauma and addiction treatment involves more than just medications. Taking a holistic approach in combining therapy with medication is proven to be much more promising. The symptoms experienced after a traumatic event can affect the individual in various ways. Although some can overcome, others have life-long symptoms that need treatment in order to manage effectively.  

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