Trauma Therapies Used During Addiction Treatment - ARISE

Unfortunately, a majority of people experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lifetime.”[1]

Some stressful events are so overwhelming and traumatic that the memories are hidden and stored away somewhere in your brain. At first, you must not even be able to access those memories, as your brain is hiding them from you as a coping mechanism. However, eventually, those suppressed memories will cause psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders.[2]

The symptoms of unresolved trauma can become so debilitating that you begin to seek out forms of self-medication. Once you try drugs and alcohol and realize they provide a temporary emotional numbing, the cycle of addiction will begin. Co-occurring trauma and addiction must be treated through a professional drug rehab program that has a focus on trauma recovery.

Drug and alcohol rehab centers in California use a variety of different trauma therapies during addiction treatment to help individuals recover. Some of these include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and more.

What Kind of Trauma Therapies Are Used During Addiction Treatment?

When your substance use disorder stems from unresolved trauma, you must receive treatment that addresses both your trauma and your addiction. Recovering from the trauma you experienced in the past will lessen your desire to abuse substances, lowering your chances of relapse in the future. The most effective way to recover from trauma is through evidence-based trauma therapies.

The types of therapies used to treat trauma in drug rehab programs include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that helps people recover from trauma and other related mental health issues. This type of therapy focuses more on the present than the past, which means it does not require you to go in-depth about your past traumas unless you feel comfortable doing so. Instead, CBT focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, while teaching you how to change negative patterns of behavior.

Common strategies used during cognitive behavioral therapy include:[3]

  • Learning to recognize distortions in thinking that are creating problems
  • Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivations of others
  • Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations
  • Learning to develop confidence in your own abilities
  • Facing your fears instead of avoiding them
  • Using role-playing to prepare for potentially difficult situations with others
  • Learning how to self-regulate your emotions

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of talk therapy that is intended for people suffering from very intense emotions. Originally, DBT was created to treat individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder, a mental health condition that usually stems from experiencing severe trauma as a child. In other words, this form of therapy is effective in helping patients overcome the lasting symptoms of experiencing trauma.

DBT is an effective form of therapy for the following conditions:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation or behavior
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

This type of therapy is intended to help you accept the reality of your life and behaviors, as well as help you learn to change your life, including your unhelpful behaviors.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of trauma therapy that is based on the Adaptive Information Processing model. This idea is based on the fact that traumatic experiences cause distress because the memory was not processed effectively. The goal of EMDR is to provide you with a safe place to process your trauma healthily and decrease some of your symptoms.

EMDR works by having you recall details of your trauma while being bilaterally stimulated. This technique reduces the vividness and emotion that is attached to the trauma, making it easier for you to discuss it and process it effectively.

This form of therapy provides the following benefits for individuals recovering from trauma and substance abuse:

  • Decreased PTSD symptoms
  • Loss of PTSD diagnosis
  • Reduced self-harming behaviors
  • Fewer feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Lessened feelings of anger
  • Decreased depression
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Reduced symptoms of addiction

Psychodynamic Trauma Therapy

Psychodynamic trauma therapy is a technique that analyzes how your childhood traumatic experiences influence your current relationships and coping mechanisms. When you experience trauma as a child, you are not equipped with the healthy coping mechanisms you need to recover. This means that your trauma will remain unresolved, affecting your behaviors and relationships well into adulthood.

The goal of psychodynamic trauma therapy is to help you process your trauma, including the memories that are stored in your unconscious mind. Over time, processing these traumas will result in positive behavior changes and reductions in symptoms.

Psychodynamic trauma therapy offers the following benefits:

  • Improvement in interpersonal relationships
  • Decreased symptoms of PTSD
  • Improvement in symptoms of depression
  • Lessened feelings of inadequacy or hostility
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Learning healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation skills

Find a Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment Center in California Today

If you or a loved one experienced trauma and developed an addiction as a form of self-medication, recovery is possible. Drug rehab centers that combine trauma and addiction treatment techniques can help you address, process, and recover from your trauma while learning how to live life as a sober individual.

At ARISE Treatment Center, we understand that each person is unique, and we approach the treatment of addiction with that in mind. Individualized levels of care are designed around each person’s specific needs. Through a combination of evidence-based and holistic treatment programs, we can help you break the cycle of addiction once and for all and guide you on your journey towards a happy and healthier life in recovery.

Contact us today to start your journey.




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