Trauma is any event that can cause a person to feel that their life or the life of someone they love is in imminent danger, and they have no power to control the situation. It still isn’t understood why a specific event can affect one person and not another. Trauma-informed care, however, is based on the idea that trauma is something pervasive in our society. It is even more prevalent in individuals who enter rehab programs. Understanding trauma-informed care requires the belief that trauma does exist and that it is essential to understand how the trauma affects every area of an individual’s life. Finally, it allows an organizational plan to design a program that works with trauma and doesn’t create more harm to the individual.
Understanding Trauma-Informed Care
Understanding trauma-informed care requires a therapist to understand that trauma isn’t just a passing event. It can affect the way a person thinks, feels, and acts for many years to come. This fact is particularly true if you’ve never addressed the trauma before. To begin to understand trauma-informed care, the trauma itself must first be understood. Not everyone who comes into contact with a traumatic event will feel comfortable sharing that event. Some people have spent years pushing the memory as far down inside themselves as they can. Not talking about an event or even not consciously remembering it doesn’t negate the effects it has. A person’s life has often been a series of events that begin with reactions to an original traumatic event. Without approaching therapy with the assumption that there may be trauma involved, you can compound your problems.
Why Understanding Trauma-Informed Care is Important
If you don’t approach care with the knowledge that trauma may have occurred, you risk creating a situation that further damages the individual. By approaching a patient with the idea that they may be a trauma victim, you can ask yourself how trauma may have played into the current situation. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to quiet the symptoms of trauma. Understanding what trauma can do can explain many reactions to everyday situations. For example, a person who has experienced sexual abuse in the past may avoid all touching. A simple reaching out to pat a shoulder could set off a reaction. If you are in a trauma-informed situation, you will know not to make such a reflex reaction. Even seemingly innocent events can trigger a trauma victim. We keep these events at the forefront of the minds of all who work in this type of situation.
Trauma and Addiction
A more significant number of people battling addiction have trauma in their past than the general population. It is why many people initially turn to drugs or alcohol. The trauma creates feelings of anxiety, fear, worthlessness, and much more. While women may have had at least some addressing of the original issue, men often have kept things inside their entire lives. Addiction can lead to traumatic events. The individual may find themselves in a dangerous sexual situation, may have been a victim of violence, or watched someone close die from an overdose. Many in rehab have lost friends and family, which is itself an event that can be traumatizing. Any rehab program must make an effort to understand trauma-informed care and putting the practices into use.
At the Atlantic Recovery Center, our therapists are trained in understanding trauma-informed care. We know that you may have past issues that are adding to the reasons why you turned to drugs or alcohol. Contact us today 877.432.0867 to find out how we can work with you to treat not only your addiction but also the trauma that led to this place. Our goal is to lift you past the trauma, and not allow our treatment to add to it.