The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describe 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 to be traumatic, another individual may not. For some, exposure to trauma can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a diagnosable mental illness that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). PTSD is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 10 percent of women and five percent of men are likely to experience PTSD at some point in their lifetimes.
There are many different treatment routes for individuals dealing with trauma, and there is no single method of treatment for trauma that is universally recognized as more effective than others. Every person is different and will require a customized treatment plan to ensure all nuanced needs are properly addressed. Treatment plans can include a combination of different psychotherapeutic modalities and interventions. Common components that could make up one’s treatment plan for trauma may include any combination of the following options, provided by the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): uses mindfulness skills to help an individual focus on accepting their emotions, while also helping to adjust the unhealthy behaviors that arise from the emotions.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this can help correct irrational and/ or inaccurate thoughts a person may have regarding the trauma as well as help him or she develop skills and healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress.
- Creative arts therapy (play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process, and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding trauma.
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): helps individuals learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to trauma.
- Group therapy: participating in group therapy sessions can help an individual learn from peers that are navigating thoughts and emotions related to trauma.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to the experienced trauma.
- Medications: there are four medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD, which are paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
While there are more treatment modalities, the above methods have been reported to be more successful in the treatment of trauma than others. Through working with the individual, mental health professionals can identify which therapeutic tactics are helpful to the recovery process and which may need to be altered during treatment.
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 welcome to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.