Trauma Therapy

At CuraWest we offer trauma-informed care for those who suffer from unresolved trauma and substance use issues. In many instances, trauma and addiction go hand-in-hand. Individuals who undergo traumatic experiences often turn to chemical substances as a means of self-medication. While substances might temporarily relieve the symptoms associated with unresolved trauma, they exacerbate symptoms in the long run while increasing the risk of re-traumatization. Several of the therapeutic professionals we employ specialize in trauma-informed addiction therapy, and work closely with dual diagnosis clients in an individual and group setting. If you or someone close to you has been struggling with substance use and unresolved trauma, CuraWest is available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our effective, therapeutically-based recovery program in Denver, Colorado. 

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to a particularly upsetting experience or sequence of events. While a person can experience trauma at any stage of life, those who experience trauma during childhood are liable to suffer from stunted cognitive development, leading to more debilitating issues later on in life. When a person undergoes trauma they experience a range of short and long-term effects. Associated symptoms can be physical and psychological in nature, and might include things like headaches, nausea, uncontrollable shaking, flashbacks, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and persistent nightmares. In many instances the symptoms associated with unresolved trauma cause disruption to day-to-day life. 

There are many experiences that could result in trauma; however, it is important to note that because everyone is different, an experience that traumatizes one individual might not negatively impact another. Examples of traumatic experiences include:

  • Physical abuse or violence. 
  • Emotional abuse. 
  • Rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual abuse. 
  • Childhood abandonment and/or neglect. 
  • Living under the same roof as someone with a substance use disorder or severe mental illness.
  • Living with/caretaking for a loved one with chronic illness. 
  • Sudden and significant loss (death of a loved one, end of a relationship, loss of a career).
  • Homelessness or poverty.
  • Violence within the community. 
  • War/active service.
  • Oppression, racism, or discrimination. 
  • Natural disaster. 
  • Undergoing a severe accident or sustaining a severe injury.
  • Living through an act of terrorism. 

When a person experiences trauma they have an increased risk of developing related issues, which could be psychological, behavioral, or physical in nature. One of the most common issues associated with unresolved trauma is substance misuse and dependence. The International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) found that up to 75% of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic experiences reported misusing alcohol or suffering from alcohol dependence. There is also a strong relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Roughly 80% of Vietnam veterans who sought treatment for PTSD simultaneously suffered from an alcohol use disorder. If you or someone you love has been struggling with unresolved trauma and addiction, CuraWest is available to help. Our program of trauma-informed addiction treatment caters to the unique needs of each client, helping them lay a solid foundation for lasting recovery. 

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Types of Trauma

Trauma can be divided into three distinct categories: acute trauma, chronic trauma, and complex trauma. The type of trauma you have experienced will affect which treatment options are going to be the most effective. In most instances, a combination of proven therapies delivered in a one-on-one setting is effective. In some cases, medication might be necessary to treat psychological symptoms of trauma, like frequent panic attacks (anxiety) or suicidal ideation (depression). At CuraWest we help clients identify what type of trauma they are suffering from and develop a personalized, trauma-informed treatment program for each individual. Contact us to learn more about which treatment options are available to you. 

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma typically occurs after one distressing event, like an injurious accident, natural disaster, or isolated sexual assault. The event threatens emotional and physical security, leading to changes in the way the person perceives and interacts with the world around them. Symptoms commonly associated with acute trauma include:

  • An inability to concentrate or focus on the task at hand. 
  • Anxiety and panic attacks. 
  • A lack of attention paid to personal hygiene.
  • An inability to engage in adequate self-care. 
  • A seemingly unjustified lack of trust in others. 
  • Irritation and irritability.
  • Feelings of isolation and disconnection. 
  • Sleep-related issues, like insomnia or persistent nightmares. 

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma occurs when a person is exposed to ongoing or persistent traumatic events over an extended period of time. Chronic trauma can result from ongoing physical or sexual abuse, involvement in active combat, a prolonged and serious health condition, domestic violence, or ongoing bullying (among many other things). If a person experiences acute trauma several times consecutively, they might be diagnosed with chronic trauma. Symptoms commonly associated with chronic trauma include:

  • Unpredictable emotional outbursts. 
  • Anxiety and panic attacks/paranoia. 
  • Mood swings, often marked by extreme anger. 
  • Chronic fatigue. 
  • Headaches and body aches.
  • Gastrointestinal issues like nausea. 

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma occurs when a person is exposed to a variety of traumatic experiences. In many instances, complex trauma is the result of an unhealthy relationship dynamic — a set of complex issues between two people. Complex trauma is common among victims of childhood abuse or neglect, individuals who have experienced longer term domestic violence, or people involved in emotionally or mentally abusive romantic relationships. Complex trauma can affect all areas of life, including interpersonal relationships, performance at work or at school, and physical health. Symptoms associated with complex trauma include:

  • A lack of trust in relationships. 
  • A diminished sense of self-worth. 
  • Self-harming behaviors. 

The Connection Between Substance Use & Trauma

There is an undeniable connection between substance use and trauma. The two conditions are linked in two ways. Substance use leads to an increased risk of experiencing trauma, and those who experience trauma are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. 

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network reports, “One in four children and adolescents in the United States experiences at least one potentially traumatic event before the age of 16, and more than 13% of 17-year-olds—one in eight—have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives.” Additional data shows, “In the National Survey of Adolescents, teens who had experienced physical or sexual abuse/assault were three times more likely to report past or current substance abuse than those without a history of trauma.” Surveys taken on adolescents who were engaged in treatment for substance use disorders found that around 70% of clients had been exposed to one or more traumatic experiences early on in their lives. 

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a substance use disorder that might be linked to unresolved trauma, CuraWest is available to help. We offer Trauma Therapy services, provided by licensed therapeutic professionals with years of hands-on experience in trauma-informed care. Contact us today to learn more. 

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What is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma Therapy is an approach that takes into consideration how traumatic experiences impact a person’s mental and emotional health. There are several different techniques used to help clients work through past trauma and related symptoms. These techniques include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Psychodrama, Psychodynamic Trauma Therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. At CuraWest we combine proven trauma therapies, understanding that the therapeutic method which works best for one client might not be equally as effective for another. If you are wondering whether or not Trauma Therapy is right for you or a loved one, we recommend undergoing a trauma-specific evaluation. Once you arrive at our Denver, Colorado treatment center, a detailed evaluation will be conducted by our clinical team, and a personalized treatment plan will be developed. If we believe that unresolved trauma has been negatively impacting your life, we will include Trauma Therapy in this plan of action. 

Benefits of Trauma Therapy

There are many benefits of Trauma Therapy, including:

  • Improved daily functioning. 
  • Improved quality of life. 
  • The ability to focus on the present moment rather than living in the past.
  • The ability to effectively work through negative emotions. 
  • Changing negative reactions and behavioral patterns into positives. 
  • Reducing symptoms associated with PTSD. 
  • Improved sleep and energy levels. 
  • The development of healthy new coping techniques. 
  • The ability to acknowledge the reality of an event or experience. 
  • Improved interpersonal skills and relationships. 

One of the main benefits of Trauma Therapy in the context of addiction treatment is reduced risk of relapse. Trauma-informed care is an important part of many addiction recovery programs, seeing as the two conditions are so closely related and many individuals who suffer from substance use simultaneously suffer from some degree of unresolved trauma. To learn more about our comprehensive program or to begin your own journey of integrated healing, contact us today. 

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    Trauma therapy is only one of the proven modalities offered at CuraWest. Our program of addiction recovery in Denver, Colorado is both integrated and individualized, providing clients with a treatment experience unlike any other. As soon as you make the decision to reach out for help, you will be put in contact with an experienced Treatment Advisor who will walk you through our simple admissions process. We begin by conducting a brief assessment which helps us determine whether or not our recovery program is right for you. If it is determined that you would benefit from our medical detox program and/or residential treatment program, we conduct a free, no obligation health insurance benefit check and help arrange local ground transportation to our facility. If you live out of state we will help you arrange more extensive travel plans, though additional travel expenses will be your responsibility. To learn more about our therapeutically-based treatment program or to get started on your own personal journey of addiction recovery, contact us today.