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Trauma is defined as any type of distressing event or experience that can have an impact on a person’s ability to cope and function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), further describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions that are characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” Trauma is subjective, as every individual is different, and an experience that one individual may perceive as traumatic, another individual may not. Nevertheless, empirical evidence suggests that experiencing trauma can result in similar emotions to grief. Experts conceptualized and summarized a pattern surrounding grief. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the Kübler-Ross model, more commonly known as the five stages of grief, in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. The relevance of the five stages of grief has since expanded and now encompasses trauma. The five stages of grief, also referred to as the five stages of trauma, include:

  1. Denial: Trauma often comes as a shock, and it is not unusual to respond to the overwhelming experience by resisting to accept it.
  2. Anger: When it is difficult to experience the painful emotions related to trauma or the experience cannot be justified in one’s mind, it is not uncommon to hide emotions and/ or pain behind a veil of anger. 
  3. Bargaining: Attempting to make deals with a higher power to try to attain an outcome different than experienced.
  4. Depression: Grief- or trauma-related depression includes overwhelming feelings of sadness and emptiness, experiencing a loss of motivation, increased fatigue, confusion, and lack of concentration. Feelings of guilt because of an inability to function optimally and care for others during the process is also common.
  5. Acceptance: In this stage an individual has reached a place in his or her trauma reaction where they have processed and acknowledged what happened, are able to deal with the emotions and consequences of the trauma and begin to reinvest in other parts of his or her life. The pain of the trauma continues to be present but is no longer all-consuming. 

It is important to note that the five stages are not necessarily sequential. Further people will move in and out of some of these stages repeatedly over time. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com

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