The American Psychological Association defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible event” such as an accident, physical violence, abuse, or a natural disaster. Although the physical scars may fade as the years go on, the deepest wounds are often the emotional impact that these events have on both the heart and mind. Waves of unexpected emotions, replaying the memories, and physical symptoms such as nausea are all painful side effects that make trauma so challenging to cope with on a day to day basis. When coping with the aftermath of a traumatic experience, it can seem like the symptoms will never go away. However, through trauma counseling, healing is possible.
When struggling with the effects of trauma, victims often feel alone in their experience. However, trauma is ,unfortunately, more common than some may think. Depending on the definition, between 9% and 44% of women in the United States alone experience some form of domestic violence. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11% of veterans returning from Afghanistan suffer from PTSD in addition to almost 31% of Vietnam veterans with PTSD as well. In the United States, between 18.9% of men and 15.2% of women experienced some form of natural disaster over the course of their life. With such high numbers, trauma and the associated symptoms are a prevalent problem amongst survivors.
Overcoming trauma can be a long and painful process, especially if someone feels as if they are carrying the weight of the tragedy on their own. For this reason, victims of traumatic experiences often find themselves struggling with substance abuse as a result of attempting to find an outlet. When the mind feels like an unsafe place filled with negative memories and thoughts, victims find themselves turning to substances in order to escape. This escapism mentality may start with good intentions, but turning to substances can lead to dangerous addictions and is an unhealthy outlet.
Experiencing a trauma does not mean that an individual will develop an addition; however, research has proven that those who are subjected to traumatic experiences are statistically more likely to struggle with substance abuse. For example, a study conducted by the American Addiction Center reported that victims of domestic violence were 70% more likely to abuse alcohol compared to those who did not experience this trauma. Additionally, PTSD survivors and survivors of sexual assault have been linked to higher rates of alcohol abuse. With such a high risk of turning to substance abuse, it is crucial that individuals who have experiences these painful events seek trauma healing through safe and nurturing trauma treatment centers as opposed to falling victim to addition.
Addicts entering treatment so often report spending years suffering from overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression brought on by traumatic experiences that made it virtually impossible to stop using drugs and alcohol. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have many destructive and debilitating effects, and abusing substances is often a “coping mechanism” to escape looping thoughts, fixations, night terrors and feeling caught in “fight, flight or freeze.” Having solid trauma counselling modalities such as EMDR, Somatic Experiencing in addition to grounding strategies one learns such as CBT and DBT, are essential to work through trauma to give you a stable and joyful journey.
Overcoming trauma may seem like a faraway dream, but with the help of professional trauma treatment psychiatrists and therapists, recovery is possible. Whether the trauma occurred over an extended period of time or was a one-time tragic event, our clinical team is here to work with you through your unique experience. We understand that everyone responds to a trauma in a different way and it is a deeply personal experience. That is why we are here to offer personalized care in order to work together toward a healthy, safe and lasting recovery.
Our clinical team is just that, a team. Aside from your one-on-one work with the psychiatrist and your primary therapist, our clinical team works together to craft your treatment plan so that the best tools in therapy are used to meet your specific needs.
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