Trauma-informed care is crucial for the recovery of addiction and other mental health disorders. 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 and 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 core element of treatment at Encore.
A variety of methods are offered for in-depth therapy for trauma at Encore Outpatient Services.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic method that can lessen the severity of emotional pain associated with major trauma. EMDR Therapy encourages clients to process traumatic events mentally with the assistance of a therapist.
Somatic experiencing is an effective body-oriented approach that heals trauma by releasing traumatic shock, which is essential to resolving PTSD. Somatic experiencing supports the nervous system into completing self-protective responses, mindfully tracking sensations through body sensations, behavior, internal senses, meaning, eye movements, and containment supportive touch.
Somatic resilience and regulation (SRR) is an integrated somatic approach that pulls from sensorimotor psychotherapy parts and attachment work and the regulation and trauma resolution used in somatic experiencing. SRR is specific for developmental trauma, including preverbal trauma and attachment disruptions, and any addiction or compulsive tendencies. SRR primarily utilizes physical touch methods for strengthening and restoring clients’ resilience and self-regulation, however, physical touch is not necessary to gain the regulation benefits that SRR provides.
Brainspotting is a powerful, gentle mindfulness-based intervention that targets traumatic memories encapsulated deep in the subcortical brain. These unresolved memories interfere with daily functioning, showing up as addictions, anxiety, depression, rage, dissociation, avoidance, and difficulty in tolerating stressful situations, and other issues. Brainspotting locates these traumatic memories through the client’s visual field and extinguishes them by down-regulating the amygdala, which results in fast and targeted healing.
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.