What Works in Recovery? Trauma Informed Care

What Works in Recovery? Trauma Informed Care

This January, we’re taking a look at what’s proven to work to promote recovery from substance use. Trauma-Informed Care is one such practice. Numerous factors can lead people toward substance use and deep-seated trauma is often a contributing factor.  

Trauma is defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. It’s a result of events, experiences, and their effects. Trauma can begin in childhood with an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) such as neglect, abandonment, physical/sexual abuse, bullying, or witnessing violence. A lot of us carry those negative childhood memories into adulthood, negatively affecting the way we relate to the world around us.

Adults can encounter trauma in many ways. Racism, discrimination, homophobia, arrest/incarceration, deployment during war, intimate partner violence, homelessness, or a lifestyle that includes substance use all can cause trauma. And unless we get help, trauma continues to produce fear, anxiety, depression, and other negative feelings in our lives.

Some of the symptoms of trauma are:
• Anger
• Persistent feelings of sadness and despair
• Flashbacks
• Unpredictable emotions
• Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches
• Intense feelings of guilt, as if we are somehow responsible for the event
• A sense of shame
• Feelings of isolation and hopelessness

“Treating” these symptoms through self-medication with alcohol and drugs, only intensifies the trauma.
Trauma Informed Care during addiction treatment is scientifically proven to help. This approach engages people with a history of trauma by acknowledging traumatic incidents, recognizing their symptoms, and understanding the role trauma has played in their lives. Trauma Informed Care translates neuroscience understanding of how trauma is processed in the brain into services that address the symptoms of trauma. This strengths-based approach minimizes the risk of re-traumatizing a treatment participant and offers supports that are trauma informed on all levels of the treatment agency, in all interactions.

If you need trauma-informed care for recovery, call L.A. CADA at (562) 906-2676.

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