Trauma-Informed Care in Addiction Treatment: Creating Safe Spaces for Healing

Trauma-informed care in addiction treatment requires a safe space within addiction care where individuals who have experienced trauma and trauma-related stressors can heal under the care of specialists. Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is frequently found to be one of the most prevalent co-occurring disorders for patients undergoing substance abuse treatment. When experiencing trauma coupled with substance abuse disorder, it is vital to cultivate a safe environment for patients to heal properly as well as provide the right form of care for those experiencing co-occurring disorders.

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Treating Trauma

Foremost, it is important to distinguish ‘treating the trauma experience’ versus ‘treating the symptoms of trauma’. This is best distinguished as treating trauma through therapy while helping to treat the symptoms that come as a result of experiencing the trauma itself. Symptoms of trauma may include recurring intrusive memories, negative changes in thinking and mood, changes in physical and emotional reactions, and avoidance. This can mean replaying traumatic events in your head constantly, coveting negative thoughts or feelings about yourself, having feelings of hopelessness about the future, lacking interest in activities you once enjoyed, experiencing difficulty maintaining close relationships, feeling detached from family and friends, having trouble sleeping, avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event, lashing out, and more. As difficult as it may be, with the right trauma-informed care and the correct approach, you can receive the treatment necessary to heal. 

The feeling of safety and security in trauma-informed care is a key component to the success of a patient’s recovery. Sharing a traumatic experience and having to relive trauma in order to move past it is a very vulnerable spot to be in. Therefore, the trustworthiness of the treatment center and its specialists is a key factor in patients feeling like they have a safe space to open up. Patients are going to require a sense of empowerment through words of wisdom and the informed care of trauma specialists to work through both issues. A drug rehab must be trained and informed to assist with trauma care by promoting an understanding of symptoms from a strength-based approach, minimizing the risk of re-traumatizing the patient, and identifying and offering trauma-informed support. Through this approach, it is recommended to provide a strength-based approach that is meant to empower its patients and reinstate hope that a full recovery is possible. 

Co-Occurring Trauma

Now you may be thinking, how does it work with co-occurring disorders in rehab? Does having a co-occurring disorder make it more difficult to heal? The easy answer is that it takes the collaboration of specialists or therapists at a rehab center who are capable of treating what’s called a ‘dual diagnosis’. This means that the treatment center you attend will need to provide care for both substance use disorder as well as a trauma-informed care program that simultaneously works to treat mental health disorders such as PTSD. These two aspects of recovery should be cohesive and work hand-in-hand to help cure both the trauma and the addiction. Therefore, when exposed to trauma on top of an addiction, it is crucial to attend a rehab that specializes in dual diagnosis. 

As aforementioned, when you are experiencing co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment provides a specialized, careful approach to ensure you are in a safe space throughout your healing journey. PTSD and addiction combined with one another must be handled with great care. There is a level of cultural sensitivity when it comes to trauma where patients may not be comfortable sharing details of their trauma off the bat, which is why it is imperative to receive one-on-one care that is highly sensitive to this type of mental health disorder.

At Water Gap Wellness, we offer dual diagnosis services to provide an initial detox and ongoing therapy to address substance abuse and trauma together simultaneously. We also stress that solely getting help for one of these disorders and not the other will statistically lead to a relapse for patients. Additionally, if you are in this position where you are suffering from both trauma and substance abuse disorder, you are not alone - more than half of individuals with addictions also suffer from mental health disorders. Rest assured, there is a clear way out through trauma-informed care. To learn more about our New York depression treatment center, please reach out to Water Gap Wellness at (855) 910-6220.