Trauma Informed Addiction Treatment

Considering Client Trauma to Promote Succesful Outcomes

Trauma-informed addiction treatment is an approach to addressing addiction that acknowledges the role of trauma in a person’s life. It recognizes that individuals with addiction often have had experiences of abuse, neglect, deprivation, and/or other difficult life situations, and seeks to treat both the substance use disorder as well as any underlying traumas which may be driving the addiction.

Trauma informed addiction treatment and mental health care take into account the physical, psychological, and social effects of trauma on an individual’s behavior and seek to address them in order to promote long-term recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of trauma-informed care for mental health and addiction treatment, and how to find effective programs for recovery with Icarus Behavioral Health now!

What to Expect from a Trauma and Addiction Treatment Program?

What to Expect from a Trauma and Addiction Treatment Program

When you begin a trauma and addiction treatment program, your trauma-informed care team will start by assessing any past traumatic experiences that may have contributed to the development of your addiction.

This assessment is an important part of the process as it helps to highlight any underlying traumas that need to be addressed in order for you to achieve long-term recovery. Your trauma-informed care team may also use various assessments, such as psychological testing and physical exams, to gain a better understanding of your current mental and physical health.

Creating an Individualized Plan

In a trauma-informed care program, the trauma-informed care team will work together to create an individualized plan of care that takes into account your needs, strengths, and preferences. This trauma-informed care plan may incorporate various therapeutic modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and/or family systems therapy. Each of these modalities can help to address the underlying psychological and emotional issues that may be fueling your addiction.

Education About Trauma Informed Practices

Your trauma-informed care team will also provide you with education about addiction, trauma, and its effects on your health. This education will help to create an understanding of why these traumas occurred in the first place and how they impact your life today. Education is also an important part of a trauma-informed care program, as it can help to dispel any myths or misunderstandings you may have about your condition.

Supportive Environment

The care team in a trauma-informed addiction treatment program also works to provide an empathic, supportive environment in which you can feel safe and comfortable enough to discuss past traumas. The team will actively listen to your experiences, provide validation and help you address any feelings of shame or guilt related to them. This helps to create an atmosphere in which you can begin the healing process and learn new tools that will help you cope better with the aftermath of trauma.

Confidential and Complimentary Assessment

Individualized Aftercare Planning

Finally, a trauma-informed care program also includes individualized aftercare planning. Your care team will work with you to develop a plan for continuing care and support after trauma-informed care, including any necessary referrals or resources. This helps to ensure that you have the best possible chance of achieving long-term recovery from addiction.

Treating the Underlying Causes

When it comes to treating addiction, it is vital that you also treat the underlying causes of the disorder. Addiction is not simply a matter of choice or willpower – rather, there are often many factors contributing to its onset and continued presence in someone’s life.

Chief among these influences is unresolved trauma and psychological distress. By addressing the trauma and psychological distress, you can effectively reduce the severity of addiction and ultimately lead to a more successful recovery.

Reasons Behind a Trauma Informed Approach

Not all traumas are the same. Trauma can take many forms, from childhood abuse and neglect to domestic violence, car accidents, natural disasters, medical procedures, or other life-altering events. Any of these experiences can have profound and long-lasting impacts on an individual’s emotional and mental health.

Unfortunately, PTSD and trauma are often misunderstood and overlooked when it comes to treating addiction. Many people assume that the addiction itself is the primary cause of all their problems, but this approach overlooks the fact that the addiction is often a symptom of much deeper issues. If these underlying issues are not addressed, then it is much harder for someone to maintain sobriety in the long term.

The Link Between Addiction and Trauma

The Link Between Addiction and Trauma

It is essential to understand that addiction and trauma are intimately linked. One of the most common ways that trauma manifests is through self-medicating behaviors, which often lead to substance abuse and addiction. People who have experienced trauma often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb their pain or escape from the memories of their traumas. In many cases, the trauma is so severe that it actually changes the way the brain processes information, making it more difficult to cope with emotions in a healthy way.

It is essential to also address the underlying trauma and psychological distress. Without this step, recovery can be much more difficult as people are still struggling to cope with their emotional distress. Trauma-informed care should focus on helping individuals understand their trauma and develop healthy coping mechanisms that will allow them to process their emotions in a more positive way.

Tools Used in a Trauma Informed Addiction Treatment

For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an important tool for helping people learn how to manage their emotions and work through traumatic experiences. This type of therapy helps individuals recognize any destructive thought patterns or behaviors that may be related to the trauma, and then take steps to replace them with more healthy alternatives. Through CBT, individuals can learn how to better regulate their emotions and process the memories associated with their trauma in more beneficial ways.

Trauma does not only cause addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes in this document that trauma can also cause higher rates of offending, behavioral problems, and physical and mental health problems.

Family Therapy and Peer Support Groups

People getting treatment for trauma need to have access to support systems such as a rehab family program as well as peer-support groups. Having a strong network of people who are understanding and empathetic can be incredibly helpful for someone who is dealing with the aftermath of trauma. This type of support can lessen the sense of isolation and vulnerability that often accompanies traumatic experiences, and promote more positive coping strategies in the long term.

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Relationships Between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can be caused by experiencing a traumatic event. People who suffer from PTSD or CPTSD experience flashbacks and nightmares about the event, as well as feeling angry, tense, and irritable. PTSD can cause changes in mood and behavior; difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or remembering; intrusive thoughts; and changes in physical and emotional reactions.

For those who suffer from PTSD, substance abuse may feel like a way to cope with the stress of their symptoms. Drugs and alcohol can provide temporary relief from the overwhelming emotions associated with PTSD, such as fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and guilt. When used for this purpose over time, substance abuse can become an addiction, making it difficult for individuals to break the cycle of using drugs or alcohol to cope with their PTSD symptoms.

Dual Diagnosis: Trauma Disorders and Substance Use Disorders

When substance abuse and PTSD occur together, the two conditions create a vicious cycle in which one exacerbates the other. Substance abuse can worsen traumatic memories and increase anxiety levels; conversely, increased symptoms of PTSD can lead to greater substance abuse. This can have devastating effects on the person’s physical and mental health, as well as their relationships with family and friends.

The good news is that it is possible to break this cycle of addiction and PTSD. There are a number of effective trauma-informed care treatments and strategies available to help individuals who suffer from both conditions. The most important step is to seek professional help from a licensed mental health providers or addiction specialists such as our team at Icarus.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify and change thought patterns and behaviors that are related to their PTSD symptoms, as well as those that lead to substance abuse. CBT can also provide individuals with skills for managing stress and reducing their level of distress.

Therapies that Consider Psychological Trauma

Other therapeutic approaches, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), are also effective in treating individuals with both PTSD and substance abuse. These therapies can help individuals process traumatic memories, decrease anxiety levels, and improve coping skills.

Medications for Trauma Related Conditions

Medications can also be used to treat both PTSD and substance abuse when other therapies have been unsuccessful. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed for the trauma-informed care treatment of PTSD; these medications help to regulate mood, improve sleep patterns, reduce anxiety levels, and lessen intrusive thoughts. Additionally, some medications can be used to lessen cravings for drugs or alcohol.

Why is Inpatient Trauma Care Effective for Co Occurring trauma?

Why is Inpatient Trauma Care Effective for Co Occurring trauma

Inpatient mental health treatment programs use trauma-informed care to provide the structure, support, and treatment necessary to address both addiction and trauma. First, a comprehensive assessment is conducted by the treatment team to identify any underlying physical, psychological, or emotional factors that may be contributing to the co-occurring disorder. The assessment typically includes medical evaluations, mental health screenings, and substance use assessments. This allows the treatment team to create an individualized plan of care that addresses the patient’s specific needs.

The core components of an inpatient trauma-informed care treatment program for co-occurring addiction and trauma are psychotherapy, medication management, and lifestyle counseling. Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of any addiction or trauma treatment program and should be tailored to meet the individual’s unique needs and trauma responses.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is typically used to help individuals identify and address the triggers of their addictions and traumas. While in an inpatient setting, the patient can also benefit from individual counseling sessions as well as group therapy sessions that provide a safe, supportive environment to discuss their experiences.

Medication Management

Medication management is also important when treating co-occurring conditions. The right medications can help reduce cravings, improve mood, and minimize the symptoms of depression or anxiety. The client’s trauma-informed care treatment team will work with them to develop an appropriate medication regimen that meets their individual needs.

Lifestyle Counseling

Lifestyle counseling provides guidance on how to make healthy lifestyle changes such as reducing stress levels, engaging in regular physical activity, and practicing mindfulness. These strategies help the client manage their symptoms and maintain sobriety.

Holistic Therapies

At an inpatient center, patients can also participate in activities designed to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health such as yoga classes, art therapy sessions, nutritional counseling, and experiential learning opportunities. The goal is to provide a comprehensive trauma-informed care treatment plan that addresses all aspects of the individual’s life, from their physical and mental health to their lifestyle and social support system.

Why Should You Treat Trauma?

If you have gone through a traumatic experience, it is important to not ignore it. Trauma can have long-lasting effects on your mental and physical health if left unresolved. It can lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It can cause feelings of isolation, guilt, and shame that can affect relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and romantic partners. It can also lead to physical problems such as chronic headaches, fatigue, stomach pains, and muscle tension.

Seek help if you feel that your traumatic experience is affecting your life in a negative way. Talking about what happened and how it has impacted you can be difficult but it will help you process and heal from the trauma. A mental health professional can provide you with guidance, support, and tools to work through your trauma in a healthy way.

Additionally, engaging in activities that help reduce stress, such as exercise, yoga, and mindfulness techniques can be helpful for managing traumatic memories and feelings. Connecting with friends and family is also important for healing. It can remind you that you are not alone and can provide an opportunity to talk about your experiences with people who care about you.

It is important to be patient and kind to yourself as you work through your trauma. Remember that healing with trauma-informed care takes time, but if you take the steps necessary, it will get easier. Reaching out to a mental health professional and engaging in self-care activities can help you on your journey toward healing.

How do Adverse Childhood Experiences Contribute To Addiction?

How do Adverse Childhood Experiences Contribute To Addiction

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are defined as potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood. These can include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; neglect; parental substance abuse; domestic violence; and other negative family dynamics. Research has shown that ACEs can have a profound negative impact on cognitive development and mental health throughout life.

The effects of ACEs can be cumulative, meaning that the more experiences a person has, the greater their risk for mental and physical health problems. In addition to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, research suggests that those who experience multiple ACEs are also more likely to experience addiction later in life.

Engaging in Dangerous Behaviors

There are several ways that ACEs can lead to substance use disorder. First, those who have experienced multiple ACEs are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and seek out potentially dangerous forms of stimulation or excitement. This could mean engaging in drug or alcohol use as a means of numbing the pain associated with past trauma.

Lack of Social & Emotional Resources

ACEs can also contribute to the development of substance use disorder by creating a lack of social and emotional resources. When someone has experienced adverse childhood experiences, they often don’t have access to the same kind of supportive relationships that can help them cope with stress or trauma in healthier ways than substance use. Without access to these resources, individuals may be more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as a form of coping.

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Your Destination for Trauma Informed Care in New Mexico

Beating a substance use disorder can be difficult enough, but when combined with trauma, it is can seem impossible. It’s not. If you need trauma-informed care from people who truly understand what you are going through, speak with Icarus Behavioral Health today!

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