The link between traumatic experiences and substance use disorders has been well established. “Studies of drug addicts repeatedly find extraordinarily high percentages of childhood trauma of various sorts, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse,” writes Canadian physician Gabor Maté in his seminal addiction study In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

And it is not only childhood trauma. According to PTSD United, 70 percent of adults in the US have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. 20 percent of them suffer from PTSD. Many of those individuals turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb their pain and in the hope of gaining some measure of control in their lives.

While many people experience trauma at some point in their life, a significant number of them don’t understand or acknowledge the trauma. That means the trauma goes frequently untreated, leading to hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and in severe cases, PTSD. In too many cases trauma also leads to addiction. Instead of seeking treatment, many choose to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Identifying and addressing the causes of traumatic experience and treating its effects is a foundational aspect of treatment at Encore.

In-depth therapy for trauma at Encore includes eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic method that can lessen the severity of emotional pain associated with major trauma. EMDR Therapy encourages patients to process traumatic events mentally with the assistance of a therapist.

Effectively addressing trauma requires specialized skills and experience. It is imperative to integrate trauma-informed care into clients’ comprehensive addiction treatment whenever appropriate in order to give them the best possible foundation for a sustained recovery.