Trauma and substance abuse very often go hand-in-hand. For many years, medical professionals, addiction specialists and scientific researchers have been studying the undeniable link between addiction and underlying trauma. Numerous studies have been conducted, all ultimately pointing towards an undeniable correlation. According to Kaiser Permanente’s Adverse Childhood Experience study, which focused on more than 17,000 patients who had experienced some degree of trauma during childhood, a child who experiences four or more individual traumatic events is five times more likely to develop an alcohol abuse disorder during adulthood and 46 times more likely to become an intravenous drug-user than members of the general population. Data from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has found that one out of every four children will experience a significant traumatic event before the age of 16. It is also estimated that roughly 29 percent of adolescents (roughly one-third of the total demographic) experiment with an addictive psychoactive substance by the time they complete the 8th grade. For many of the adolescents that have experienced trauma and have gone on to experiment with drug and alcohol use, developing an addictive disorder over time is not uncommon. In numerous surveys that revolve around adolescents receiving professional treatment for substance abuse and dependence, more than 70 percent had a personal history of trauma exposure.
When these traumatic experiences are left untreated, the individual is likely to begin self-medicating uncomfortable emotions. Abusing chemical substances also puts the adolescent at risk of undergoing trauma later on in life because of his or her propensity towards engaging in risk-taking behaviors and winding up in precarious and unsafe situations. If you have experienced trauma during childhood or if you are currently undergoing a traumatic experience, CuraWest is available to help. Our team of experienced medical professionals and licensed therapists are all well-versed in trauma-informed care. We take a trauma-informed approach to comprehensive addiction recovery, tackling all underlying causes of addiction thoroughly and effectively.
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Staying Sober and Experiencing Trauma
If you have already completed inpatient addiction treatment and you are currently undergoing a traumatic experience, you might find that your recovery is in a somewhat unstable place. Undergoing any emotionally devastating situation can be a serious relapse trigger. At CuraWest we work closely with men and women who have either undergone trauma in the past or who are currently experiencing trauma. A study published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry titled, “Childhood trauma, trauma in adulthood, and psychiatric diagnoses” explores the relationship between trauma and a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse disorders. It has been consistently found that sexual abuse that occurs during childhood leads to alcoholism and drug addiction later on in life. However, not all trauma occurs during childhood – some traumatic experiences occur during adulthood and either worsen and exacerbate symptoms associated with substance abuse or contribute largely to the development of a substance abuse disorder.
Some traumatic experiences that might occur during adulthood include:
- Undergoing a severe accident, such as an automobile accident or a workplace accident that results in serious injury
- The diagnosis of a potentially lethal or chronic disease, such as cancer
- The death of a loved one
- A difficult divorce after a long-term marriage
- Natural disasters
- A stay in jail or prison
- Witnessing someone else sustain significant injury
- Rape or any other form of sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Experiencing active military combat/going to war
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A study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence titled, “Violent Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence in Adults: Assessment in a Large Health Maintenance Organization” explains that negative behavioral patterns continue unless trauma is thoroughly and adequately treated. At CuraWest we believe that in order for long-term sobriety to be achieved, all underlying conditions – including underlying or current trauma – must be adequately addressed. For this reason, we have developed a medical detox program that not only provides a safe and pain-free withdrawal, but focuses heavily on intensive therapeutic intervention and trauma-informed care.
Healthy and Effective Coping Mechanisms
There are many healthy and effective coping mechanisms and relapse prevention skills when it comes to working through past or current trauma. Some of the coping mechanisms we encourage and teach include:
- Mindfulness meditation – Meditation and prayer are important components of the spiritual part of addiction recovery. We teach clients numerous mindfulness meditation techniques geared towards helping calm the nerves in stressful situations.
- Keeping up with self-care – Self-care is crucial to long-term sobriety. This means making a meeting every day and maintaining personal boundaries. Eating healthy, exercising and going to therapy. Doing what you need to do to stay in a good place mentally and emotionally.
- Making at least one 12 step meeting daily and any attending any additional, trauma-related support groups that could prove to be beneficial – If you are struggling with something specific, be sure to speak up!
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- Thoroughly understanding triggers and learning to identify them as soon as they arise – Your relapse triggers vary based on your own personal experiences. Figure out what yours are and either avoid them or figure out how to effectively work through them should they ever crop up.
- Playing the tape all the way through – This essentially means taking a close look at the inevitable consequences attached to relapsing.
- Calling up a trusted sober friend or sponsor – Simply speaking with someone you know and trust can make all of the difference in the world.
Relapse Prevention Training
At CuraWest we begin relapse prevention training as soon as a client is admitted to our medical detox program. We understand that without the proper relapse prevention techniques in place, the client is far more susceptible to relapsing within the first several weeks of his or her sobriety. Essentially, relapse prevention training teaches clients how to effectively manage and cope with common relapse triggers. Experiencing trauma is a major cause of relapse and it is essential that clients know how to work through uncomfortable emotions while reaching out for the additional help they need. It is also crucial that clients know how to set and maintain personal boundaries and remove themselves from toxic situations. With the proper skills in place, anyone who has been suffering from a substance abuse disorder can make it through any adverse situation completely unscathed.
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CuraWest – Our Comprehensive Clinical Care
At CuraWest we offer a comprehensive and highly individualized program of clinical care. Our medically monitored detox program was carefully developed by a team of professionals with decades of combined clinical, medical and therapeutic experience. We provide trauma-informed care in a homestyle setting. Our detox facility comes fully equipped with all of the comforts of home along with numerous additional services and amenities, all geared towards providing a safe, pain-free and effective withdrawal experience. If you are ready to begin living an entirely new way of life, simply give us a call today. As soon as you do, our Treatment Advisors conduct a brief pre-assessment over the phone in order to ensure that our program of clinical care best suits your individual needs and requirements. If CuraWest is a good fit, we set to work figuring out coverage options and reasonable travel plans. As soon as they finer details are smoothed out we set a date and a time for intake and look forward to your arrival.
Reviewed for accuracy by:
Jasmine has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Child and Family Relations from North Carolina Central University, and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. Jasmine is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and has specialized in addiction for over 10 years.