Written by: Admin
Addiction Recovery And Trauma-Informed Care
For many people, recovery from substance abuse and addiction involves multiple approaches and methods. And since each person and their path to recovery are unique, recovery centers usually offer different types of therapies to meet these needs.
One of these approaches that applies to many people recovering from addiction is known as Trauma-Informed Care. In short, trauma-informed care is a broader type of approach rather than a specific mode of therapy. It’s most easily identified as how care is implemented—the culture of a program or treatment center—rather than the specifics of what is being done.
Trauma and traumatic experiences reach far and wide, often contributing to the development of other behavioral and substance addictions. Varying degrees and expressions of abuse and/or neglect are usually the two main criteria for traumatic experiences.
Trauma also plays a role in the diagnoses and development of co-occurring disorders. These can include mental, physical, and emotional disorders that overlap or co-occur with substance abuse and addiction.
Because of these traumatic or adverse experiences, there is often a higher risk of re-traumatization during the addiction recovery process. Whether it happens as a result of certain restraints, isolation/seclusion, unhealthy cultural attitudes of the treatment center and staff, or simply ignorance of the client’s multifaceted issues, re-traumatization can set the recovery back significantly.
But there are ways to minimize the risks of re-traumatization during the recovery process. According to a collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma-informed care is distinguished by six major principles:
Although these principles may sound somewhat vague, they are intended to be. The flexibility and adaptive qualities of trauma-informed care are its greatest strengths. And since the cultural attitudes of a treatment center are usually rooted in overall staff satisfaction, the well-being of the professional staff is often where trauma-informed care begins.
While trauma can take a number of different forms, one of the most common in substance abuse and addiction are experiences of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Consider the following statistics from a study on ACEs in collaboration with CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
These data points show the extremely high numbers of individuals in addiction recovery with significant experiences of trauma. Trauma-informed care, therefore, should be a relevant if not essential aspect of addiction recovery treatment.
Although more research has been done on trauma-informed care in recent years, more work still needs to be done to evaluate the measurable benefits of trauma-informed care. According to a recent study in the journal for Research on Social Work Practice, the outcomes of implementing trauma-informed practices in addiction recovery positively impacted both the organization or treatment center, as well as the clients in recovery.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, trauma-informed care is becoming even more important for recovery from addiction and substance abuse. By providing supportive environments that are less likely to re-traumatize a person struggling with addiction, recovery programs have a much better chance of treatment success.
Trauma-informed care also takes the family into consideration beyond just the classic “family therapy” model. Sometimes involving family members at the wrong time or under the wrong conditions can re-traumatize the person struggling with addiction, which can cause major setbacks in the recovery process. Trauma-informed care, however, addresses these nuances in family dynamics and approaches them with care.
Two of the most important aspects of trauma-informed care for addiction recovery are collaboration and empowerment. By retraining the brain and forming new ways of processing trauma, those in recovery gain so much more than just generic coping skills—they walk away with personalized strategy plans for adapting their responses to trauma and being in triggering situations.
Based on the prevalence of traumatic experiences of those in recovery, trauma-informed care should be on the forefront of addiction treatment. And according to the research done thus far, the risks of re-traumatization can be greatly decreased by trauma-informed care practices. The well-being of staff, cultural climate of the center, and overall safety and stability of the recovery environment have a significant impact on client recovery—in the short-term and the long-term.
To learn more about how to start your healing journey at Impact Recovery, get in touch with a member of our team here.