Traumatic experiences can happen to anyone, regardless of age, income, lifestyle or education level. When a person experiences trauma, they may turn to substances to cope with their thoughts, feelings and triggers. Using drugs or alcohol to cope only masks the real issue and can make it harder to find relief.
Gateway Foundation uses a form of cognitive processing therapy to provide individuals with the tools and resources they need to overcome their trauma and co-occurring addiction. Learn how trauma and addiction go hand in hand and how trauma-informed therapy can help you find relief.
A person who has unresolved trauma can experience various physical, mental and emotional signs, including:
Once a person begins using substances to cope, their symptoms may worsen. They can develop sleeping issues, potentially increasing the number of nightmares a person experiences. Their mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, may also worsen, and they may use substances to cope with these new feelings and worsen their unresolved trauma.
Developing a substance use disorder can also isolate you from friends and family, who can be vital members of your support network to help you cope with unresolved trauma. You may start engaging less with activities you once enjoyed, experience problems at work and in relationships or fail to keep up with your daily responsibilities. These effects of substance use can make dealing with traumatic experiences significantly more challenging, which can drive you to turn further to substances.
Rather than relying on substances, seeking help through trauma-informed therapy is recommended. Trauma-informed therapy can work side-by-side with addiction treatment, helping you process and address your emotions and memories associated with your traumatic experiences.
Trauma-informed therapy has many benefits for individuals who have experienced life-altering events. This form of treatment can help you understand your trauma, your responses and how you can change them to improve your life. The following are some trauma therapy benefits:
Trauma-informed therapy can help individuals struggling to cope with their stress symptoms or turning to problematic coping mechanisms to manage their physical, mental and emotional sensations. If you’ve turned to substance misuse to cope with your trauma, Gateway Foundation incorporates trauma-informed therapy into our substance use disorder treatment programs to target the underlying issue and help you reclaim your life.
Leaving trauma untreated can seriously affect a person, especially after long periods. Some of the short-term effects of untreated trauma can cause anxiety and other symptoms, such as:
Many people who go through traumatic experiences may attempt to avoid situations, emotions or thoughts that remind them of the event. These avoidance behaviors can mask the problem and can potentially make their symptoms worse.
If a person leaves their trauma untreated for long periods, they could experience various long-term effects, such as:
These long-term problems can cause significant issues in a person’s life, affecting their health, relationships and mental well-being. A person who starts experiencing the long-term effects of untreated trauma should seek treatment from a therapeutic and addiction specialist.
A person who has gone through a traumatic event may experience trauma responses as they try to go about their day or practice avoidance behaviors, which could prevent them from living fulfilling lives. They may also have difficulty forming and sustaining relationships or experience difficulty keeping up with their daily tasks in fear of exposure to triggering events.
If people turn to substances to cope with their traumatic experiences, their physical and mental health can be impacted even further. Severe addictions can cause numerous health and social consequences, such as:
These substance use consequences, alongside trauma’s physical, mental and emotional challenges, can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. If your or a loved one’s life has been affected by trauma and substance use, it’s time to seek professional help to overcome addiction and address your trauma. Gateway Foundation treats addiction while offering trauma-focused therapy to patients to help them get to the root cause of their addiction and improve their quality of life.
If you’ve never participated in therapy before, especially trauma-focused treatment, you may have some lingering questions. Below we answer some of the most common questions about this therapy.
While you’re addressing your trauma, you’ll likely participate in other types of therapy to help supplement your treatment and help you cope with your experiences. These additional therapies can help you learn the skills and change your current mindset to help you find relief from your addiction and trauma symptoms. The different treatments you may participate in alongside trauma-informed therapy include:
These different therapies can complement your trauma-informed therapy sessions by helping you alter your current mindset, learn additional coping skills, motivate you to stay committed and connect with others who share similar experiences.
While sharing vulnerable information with another person can be uncomfortable at first, it’s beneficial to be honest with your therapist about your experiences so your therapist can help you. You don’t have to worry about the information you share becoming available to anyone else in most circumstances. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires therapists not to share your protected information unless they believe that you or someone else is in danger.
It can be challenging to talk openly with a therapist, especially if you’ve never spoken about your traumatic experiences with anyone before. It can take time to warm up to your therapist, but remember they’re there to help you overcome your challenges and provide the tools you need to improve your overall well-being in a non-judgmental space. Being honest with your therapist as soon as possible helps you get everything you can from treatment and find relief from your traumatic experiences and responses.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) requires all insurance providers to cover mental health and addiction services equal to what they would offer coverage for regarding physical conditions. If you have health insurance, you have some form of mental health and addiction coverage.
However, insurance providers are only required to offer coverage for these services equal to what they would provide for physical conditions. So if your coverage for physical ailments is limited, your coverage for mental or addiction services will also be limited.
The good news is that having insurance means at least some of your mental health and addiction services can be covered, saving you from paying for all of your treatment out of pocket. Learn more about Gateway Foundation’s accepted insurance providers.
Trauma can severely impact a person’s quality of life, especially when they use substances in an attempt to cope. Gateway Foundation can help you find relief from addiction and trauma through our addiction treatment and trauma-informed therapy programs. Our professional staff is dedicated to your care, helping you every step of the way.
We also personalize your treatments to ensure we’re addressing your specific needs. Our evidence-based therapies and over 50 years of experience give us the tools and resources necessary to help you find relief. Contact us today to learn more about our trauma-informed therapy and addiction treatment programs to improve your well-being and reclaim your life.
Explore the latest resources from Gateway Foundation.