Is your substance addiction related to past traumatic experiences? Did you know that trauma-informed care can grant you higher chances of full recovery? In the field of addiction recovery, the trauma-informed approach has been proven highly effective to all age groups. Many treatment centers are using the principles of trauma-informed care to support recovering individuals.
What Is Trauma?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma is defined as “emotionally harmful experiences” caused by “violence, abuse, neglect, loss, disaster, war” and other events. These incidents tend to leave a heavy emotional burden and mental distress on people. Although many go on with their lives, the lasting negative effects can still show up in behavioral disorders such as depression, anxiety, or aggression and may lead to substance abuse.
Trauma is an almost universal experience and a widespread public health problem. Because these incidents can be very personal, most people live with trauma without any support. Unaddressed trauma not only increases the risk of mental illnesses but is also a leading cause for developing substance abuse issues and addiction.
What Is a Trauma-Informed Approach to Addiction Recovery?
Health professionals have increasingly realized the importance of addressing trauma. Doing so requires a much higher level of care as well as a systematic understanding of traumatic distress. Exposure to a traumatic event may produce long-lasting adverse effects, impairing a person’s ability to cope with normal levels of stress in life or intense emotions arising from similar situations to those that traumatized them.
Research has shown that trauma also causes invisible effects, such as on a person’s neurobiological makeup. Traumatic stress puts the brain in a hyper-vigilant state, which may exhaust a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Survivors of trauma may experience terrifying flashbacks or emotional numbing, disrupting their life and relationships.
Based on these understandings, the trauma-informed approach to recovery is grounded in a few principles, including realizing the widespread impact of trauma, recognizing the signs and symptoms of traumatic distress, responding by fully integrating knowledge about trauma, and actively preventing re-traumatization. Medical staff who are trained in this approach should prioritize safety, trustworthiness, peer support, empowerment, and cultural- or gender-responsive methods when treating a client with substance use disorder.
What Are the Benefits of Receiving Trauma-Informed Care?
A trauma-informed approach must be implemented in organizational and clinical practices. All staff at an addiction treatment facility should be trained to recognize the complex impact trauma has on people. This will guide the clinician to help individuals co-develop their treatment plans so they can have a voice in choosing the treatment options they prefer. Collaboration among health care professionals can be maximized, and families also participate in treatment planning.
Most important of all, a trauma-informed approach ensures individuals’ emotional safety and helps them develop trust in their care providers. There are many barriers to treatment before people enter a facility, but lack of trust may also create barriers that compromise recovery progress even after treatment begins.
How Do You Choose a Facility With Trauma-Informed Care?
Because the trauma-informed approach requires a systematic revamping of medical service, a facility that uses this approach should include trauma-informed practices in all areas of operation. For example, there should be policies and protocols establishing a trauma-informed approach as an essential part of the organizational mission. These policies should reflect trauma-informed principles. Health professionals should also value the voice and choices of clients and their family members because this is a key value of a trauma-informed approach.
Health practitioners and interventionists should integrate trauma-informed values into all processes of screening, assessment, and treatment services. When certain trauma-specific services are not available within the organization, a trusted and effective referral system should be in place. Most importantly, there ought to be ongoing assessment, tracking, and monitoring of how trauma-informed principles are implemented during treatment.
What Does Trauma-Informed Care Mean for Staff at the Facility?
Working with people who have experienced traumatic experiences may put clinical staff at risk of developing secondary traumatic stress. This refers to the “emotional stress that results when a person hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another.” Many health professionals go through this emotional exhaustion, leading to chronic fatigue or even depression. A lot of times, health professionals refer to this as “burn-out” without noting the trauma associated with it.
Trauma-informed care requires health professionals to develop an awareness of secondary traumatic stress and coping techniques. Staff is encouraged to practice self-care. Sometimes facilities offer “mental health days” for their clinicians. There should be a supportive supervision system in place so that staff can receive on-the-job mental health care. Internal training also needs to focus on issues related to secondary traumatic stress and staff self-care.
Are you or a loved one recovering from substance addiction rooted in past traumatic experiences? If trauma seems to be a barrier to seeking treatment, trauma-informed care can grant you higher chances of full recovery. In the field of addiction recovery, the trauma-informed approach has been proven highly effective to all age groups. If you are looking for treatment centers that use trauma-informed care to support recovering individuals, Laguna Shores Recovery is the place for you. Here you will meet a team of licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists who are trained in the trauma-informed approach. In fact, most of our staff has been in recovery themselves, so they know how things work inside and out. Our full medical residential facility offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, 12-step programs, and many other complementary treatment methods. After some screening and diagnosis, we will customize a treatment plan which best cares for your needs. Call (866) 906-3203.