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What Kind of Trauma Therapies Are Used in Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, substance use disorder affects 20 million people aged 12 and older.[1] More often than not, addiction is caused by a combination of unfortunate circumstances. For example, experiencing childhood trauma, never receiving treatment for your trauma, and being genetically predisposed can lead to the development of a substance use disorder.

According to Harvard University, children with a history of trauma are 4 to 12 times more likely to experience drug dependency, alcoholism, mental illness, and attempt suicide.[2] Because trauma is often a main contributing factor to the development of addiction, many rehab programs integrate trauma therapy into their addiction treatment programs.

Types of Trauma Therapy Used in Drug Rehab Programs

Recovering from an addiction requires you to take a hard look at your past and address any unresolved issues you may be facing. Oftentimes, traumatic events from your childhood continue to affect your emotions and behavior even if you aren’t aware of them. 

Addiction treatment centers provide their patients with evidence-based trauma therapy to promote whole-person healing. The types of trauma therapy you may come across in a substance abuse treatment program include: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach to trauma and other related mental health conditions. According to the American Psychological Association, “Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the relationship among thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; targets current problems and symptoms; and focuses on changing patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that lead to difficulties in functioning.”[3]

This form of therapy is extremely beneficial for individuals who suffer from trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBT allows you to identify unhealthy patterns of thought or behavior related to the trauma and the effects it has caused. Additionally, you will learn how to self-regulate your emotions through a skills-based approach. 

The benefits of CBT for trauma and addiction include:

  • Learning to identify and change negative patterns of thought and behavior
  • Gaining healthy coping skills to deal with trauma and substance abuse healthily 
  • Reducing symptoms of PTSD
  • Teaching you to stay in the present rather than focusing on the past 
  • Gaining control over your own thoughts 
  • Increasing your self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Learning how to manage triggers and self-regulate your emotions 

Psychodynamic Trauma Therapy 

Psychodynamic trauma therapy takes a look at how your early childhood experiences affect your current relationships and learned coping mechanisms. Things you learn and witness during childhood can affect how you behave in relationships. If you are not taught proper coping mechanisms as a child, you are more likely to develop unhealthy ones as an adult. 

The goal of psychodynamic trauma therapy is to address unresolved trauma that may be hidden in the depths of your mind, allowing you to experience a positive behavior change. This is accomplished by emphasizing the unconscious mind, where upsetting feelings, urges, and thoughts that are too difficult to deal with are housed. 

This form of therapy provides the following benefits:

  • Improvement in interpersonal relationships
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD
  • Improvement in symptoms of depression 
  • Lessened feelings of inadequacy or hostility 
  • Increased self-confidence 

Seeking Safety (SS)

Seeking safety is a type of trauma therapy that addiction treatment centers use to help promote feelings of safety after a traumatic event. Because safety is the priority, this form of therapy does not require you to disclose intimate details about your trauma to avoid re-traumatization. Instead, seeking safety focuses on teaching you vital coping skills to help you attain safety in your relationships, feelings, behaviors, and thinking. 

Trauma can cause you to become angry with yourself and the world around you. Sometimes this can cause you to isolate yourself from others out of fear of betrayal or re-traumatization. Participating in seeking safety can help you learn how to set healthy boundaries, heal from your anger, and learn compassion for yourself. 

The U.S. Department of Justice conducted a study to see how effective seeking safety was among inmates. According to their findings, “Improvements were identified in drug use, family/social functioning, trauma symptoms, anxiety, dissociation, sexuality, hostility, overall functioning, meaningfulness, and feelings and thoughts related to safety. Treatment attendance, satisfaction, and alliance were very high.”[4]

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of trauma therapy based on the Adaptive Information Processing Model. This theory explains that traumatic experiences cause distress because the memory was not processed effectively. EMDR focuses on providing a safe place for you to process your trauma healthily and productively.

During EMDR, you will begin recounting the traumatic event you experienced while undergoing bilateral stimulation. This reduces the vividness and emotion that is attached to the trauma, making it easier for you to discuss and unpack it.

EMDR provides the following benefits for patients with trauma and addiction:

  • Reduction in PTSD symptoms 
  • Loss of PTSD diagnosis 
  • Reduced self-harming behaviors 
  • Lessened feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Improved feelings of anger 
  • Decreased depression 
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Reduced symptoms of addiction 

Get Connected With a Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment Center in South Florida Today

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction and have a history of trauma, you are not alone. Trauma and addiction often come hand in hand, making it imperative that you receive treatment for both issues simultaneously. Thankfully, addiction treatment programs like Mandala Healing Center emphasize the importance of recovering from past trauma and use a variety of different trauma therapy techniques during treatment.

Going beyond the conventional approach of detoxification, patients at the Mandala Healing Center are inspired to fully heal in an environment designed to nourish their entire being. Contact us today to start your recovery in a safe, supportive, and understanding environment. Admissions counselors are available now to help you get started.