Many people who enter alcohol and drug treatment have endured trauma in their past. Some experiences of emotional and/or physical pain involve an isolated event, while others occur over a period of time. Whether the trauma occurred recently or many years ago, it can have a life-changing impact on the victim. The effects of distress need to be kept in mind when designing an effective addiction treatment plan for a trauma victim. Our trauma program at Adjustments Family Services, located in the Los Angeles area focuses on more than just an individuals history with substance abuse. The term “trauma” is used to describe a situation or experience that is distressing and emotionally painful. A traumatic experience is overwhelming for the victim and leaves them feeling unable to cope. Such distress may include sexual or physical assault, serious accidents, combat experiences, and rape. It may also encompass less-obvious experiences, such as neglect and emotional abuse. The impact of trauma is an intensely individual experience. Two individuals may react to the same traumatic event in very different ways. It also acknowledges the consequences of trauma and encourages healing.
Key Principles of Trauma Therapy
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defined six key principles that define a trauma-informed approach to treatment:
- Transparency and trustworthiness
- Peer support
- Mutuality and collaboration
- Voice, choice, and empowerment
- Historical, cultural and gender issues
Trauma-informed care is based on the assumption that many individuals receiving treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse have a history of trauma that may contribute to their substance abuse. This approach, which is the basis for the Los Angeles drug addiction program at Adjustments Family Services, emphasizes the need to screen for trauma at the beginning of treatment and provide information about trauma throughout the course of rehabilitation. Trauma can play a significant role in a person’s struggle with substance abuse. Acknowledging the impact of distress in a client’s life allows specialists to treat the client more effectively. A traditional treatment approach might ask a client “What’s wrong with you?” while a trauma-informed approach asks “What happened to you?”
What To Expect In Trauma Therapy
In a trauma-informed treatment program, clients are respected for their resilience and survival in the face of trauma, and they are given the chance to actively participate in their treatment. This level of empowerment and control helps balance the loss of control that many individuals feel as a consequence of their suffering. It’s easy to confuse the concepts of trauma-informed care and trauma-focused treatment. Trauma-informed care is a holistic concept that considers the impact of emotional distress across all aspects of treatment. However, this approach is not intended to treat the actual symptoms of trauma.
Trauma-focused treatments, on the other hand, include evidence-based therapeutic techniques that have been proven to heal the effects of trauma. These treatment methods are designed to directly treat the physical and psychological consequences of trauma. Although the two concepts are quite different in intent and execution, they both focus on creating feelings of safety and empowerment in the trauma survivor.
Your initial assessment will include special attention to any symptoms or history of trauma, and their trauma-informed approach will ensure that the consequences of your distress are addressed during the course of your alcohol and drug treatment. With personalized, comprehensive substance abuse treatment, you will be provided with the best possible tools for long-term recovery.
Call Adjustments Family Services, located in the Los Angeles area, now at 805-210-8448 to get started on the road to your recovery and a life of abstinence.