Trauma Treatment at Promises
We understand how trauma inflicts its damage and can lead to long-term mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders as well as substance abuse and behavioral addictions. We also understand how important it is to address trauma from all angles. That’s why we offer comprehensive trauma recovery programs in a highly supportive, deeply validating environment of respect and care.
What Is Trauma/PTSD Treatment Like?
Trauma and PTSD underlie many of the challenges facing our clients. Unaddressed trauma and PTSD can fuel:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders
- Intimacy disorders
- Sexual addiction
Promises treatment centers offers safe, nurturing environments where clients with histories of trauma can begin their journey to trauma recovery. Our clients learn that recovering from trauma is difficult but transformative work. Trauma treatment may include:
Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
An important part of the recovery process is getting to the root causes of destructive behaviors. Trauma is typically a key contributor to our clients’ substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our experienced trauma specialists are trained to treat the range of behavioral, psychological and emotional issues that may hold you hostage. We offer substance abuse treatment that includes medical detox and relapse prevention training. A psychiatrist assesses your mental health to determine if medication is appropriate for your symptoms.
One-on-one sessions with an individual therapist helps you peel back the layers of circumstances that led you to this point. You’ll feel safe sharing about difficult topics within a trusting therapeutic relationship. Our therapists are trained in complex trauma and PTSD treatment. We draw on several approaches to help you begin recognizing and regulating difficult emotions. We may recommend special approaches like EMDR therapy as appropriate.
Exploring shame can play a large role in healing from trauma. Group therapy is a great place to do this. Feeling unsafe being vulnerable is often a symptom of trauma. Small groups with peers that relate to what you’re going through can provide a sense of safety that allows you to get comfortable with your authentic self. You’ll learn how to relate to people openly and honestly. You may see yourself in other group members and gain a new understanding of your challenges.
People who experience trauma in childhood often turn to destructive behaviors as adults. Family themes and dynamics can contribute to trauma. Childhood experiences like physical and emotional abuse or neglect can have far-reaching effects. An overly enmeshed relationship or unpredictable home environment may also fuel trauma. Family therapy is available as appropriate. A trained mental health professional helps guide loved ones through difficult topics. Family members have a chance to heal deep-rooted emotional pain and move forward with more honest and supportive relationships.
Our multidisciplinary team of therapists treats all forms of trauma using a range of interventions. Trauma therapies may include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Somatic Experiencing®
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Many trauma therapies focus on aspects like the fight/flight response with no need to relive actual traumatic memories.
Recovering from trauma takes time. You’ll continue to work on healing after the first stage of recovery. We’ll craft an aftercare plan that supports recovery from trauma, substance abuse and mental health disorders. This may include:
- Appointments with mental health professionals
- Addiction recovery resources like sober-living residences
- Connections to trauma support groups
- 12-step groups in your community
- Promises alumni events
When people are traumatized, their system becomes shocked and dysregulated. The experiences split off from consciousness and are held in different pockets of memory in neural networks. If the experience is not retriggered, people go through life fairly successfully. But if the traumatic memories are activated by a situation, person, place, thing or smell, people may become overwhelmed. They may not know how to self-soothe. For people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, this can lead to relapse.
For some people, the panic of the traumatic experience is stored in its original form in the memory network. Because it hasn’t been adequately dealt with, whenever another situation that resembles it arises, the memory network will light up as if they’re back in the original moment. However, in the initial experience, the person was not safe, the environment was not safe, and the people they were with were not safe. If the traumatic memories are brought up again during trauma-focused therapies like EMDR, people realize that they are in the present and safe, unlike during the original experience. This helps them begin to transform the way they experience the present. They learn how to tap into their own innate ability to heal and self-soothe, transforming memories of trauma.
Causes of Trauma
Trauma is the emotional and physical reaction caused by witnessing or experiencing deeply disturbing events or behaviors. A natural disaster, emotional or physical abuse or witnessing a violent crime are all traumatic events that can cause a short-term or long-term emotional or physical symptoms. But origins of trauma can also be more subtle. Discrimination, being bullied or having an alcoholic parent are just a few of the less-obvious life experiences that can also lead to trauma.
Causes of trauma include:
- Physical or sexual abuse or assault
- Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Neglect (failure of primary caregiver to provide basic needs)
- Victim of terrorist attack or war
- Combat experience
- Serious or chronic illness or medical problem
- Witnessing or being a victim of violent crime
- Natural disasters
- Forced removal from home
- Loss of — or separation from — a loved one
- Being bullied as a child or an adult or witnessing bullying
Although some people can experience a traumatic event and move on without apparent long-term impact, others will experience lingering effects, either large or small. For some trauma victims, certain events, objects or sounds will trigger a re-experiencing of the trauma or prompt an extreme attempt to avoid remembering. Some relive the trauma repeatedly, and suffer from physical symptoms like sweating, muscle tension and racing heart. Others feel continuously anxious and stressed and find it difficult to concentrate, eat, sleep and manage emotions. Trauma therapy or time at a trauma recovery center can help people with post-traumatic stress disorder address these experiences and better manage the after effects of trauma.
Types of Trauma
Just as there are many different types of traumatic experiences, there are also many different ways that people respond to it and many different disorders that arise from it. Thus, trauma recovery can be complex.
Acute trauma, also known as acute stress disorder, is usually caused by a one-time terrifying or threatening event, such as an accident, assault or catastrophic occurrence that causes intense emotional pain or physical duress. The traumatic event sparks feelings of extreme fear that persist for up to a month after the event is over. Acute stress disorder can interfere with relationships and job functioning and cause general withdrawal, as the person begins to perceive social and work situations as suddenly threatening. In some cases, acute trauma will go away on its own, but in other cases the symptoms will linger, worsen over time and evolve into anxiety, depression or PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe form of anxiety triggered by a terrifying or threatening event. The normal reaction to danger is “fight/flight,” which ensures our safety and survival and dissipates when the crisis is over. With PTSD, rather than getting better over time, symptoms get worse or linger for months or more, making it difficult to function day-to-day. The stress and fear persist even when the danger is gone.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop at any age. Some of the events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- Military service
- A serious accident
- Being diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- A natural or manmade disaster
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Abusive sexual experiences like sexual assault
For some, symptoms of PTSD are ongoing, and for others, symptoms occur sporadically, sometimes triggered when the individual encounters reminders of the traumatic event (e.g., seeing a story in the news about a natural disaster or an assault may be a reminder of one’s own experience). Although symptoms can also arise when the person suffering from PTSD feels alone, overwhelmed or at risk of harm. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder run a greater risk of substance abuse, depression, eating disorders and other mental health issues, as well as physical illnesses such as heart disease and chronic pain.
Complex trauma usually results from ongoing traumatic events, such as:
- Long-term military combat
- Physical or emotional abuse, particularly if it’s at the hands of a parent or caregiver
- Emotional neglect or an overly enmeshed caregiver
- Chronic illness
- Series of unrelated traumatic events, unwanted or abusive experiences
If left untreated, complex trauma can lead to mood disorders, chronic depression or other mental health problems.
Complex trauma tends to become more deeply rooted with each traumatic event. People experiencing complex trauma begin resorting to more and more maladaptive coping skills. People might respond to repeated trauma by shutting down emotions, closing off others, or drowning intense feelings in drugs, alcohol or some other form of escape.
Complex Trauma: Phases of Trauma Recovery
Many complex trauma specialists support the “three phases of trauma recovery” model. Developed by trauma researcher Dr. Judith Herman, the phases of trauma recovery include:
Phase One – Safety and Stabilization
The first stage of recovery is establishing a sense of safety. Many people with complex trauma don’t feel safe physically or emotionally. They have difficulty self-soothing. Learning how to regulate emotions and having a type of “emotional home base” to return to when feeling unsafe is imperative to the work of trauma recovery in phase two and phase three.
Phase Two – Remembrance and Mourning
A sense of loss is associated with all types of trauma. In this stage of treatment, people grieve for what was, what wasn’t and what is. It isn’t always necessary to relive traumatic memories in this phase. It’s more about honoring the emotions that accompany that trauma. Maintaining safety and stabilization is important so the fight/flight response of the nervous system isn’t reactivated.
Phase Three – Reconnection and Integration
The third stage of recovery is about redefining life. People still honor their past experiences, but it no longer defines them and their relationships. This is a time of increasing resilience and empowerment. There is no set time for moving through the phases of trauma recovery. The process is different for everyone.
Can You Benefit From a Trauma Recovery Center?
Warning signs of trauma can range from temporary anxiety to profound psychological distress. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms enough that they’re having a negative impact on your life and relationships, you may consider specialized trauma treatment at a trauma recovery center:
- Anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions
- Insomnia, sleep disturbances or recurrent nightmares
- Physical symptoms such as pain and ailments
- Substance abuse
- Sexual addiction
- Disordered eating behaviors
- Recurrent, involuntary memories of traumatic events
- Altered sense of reality
- Inability to remember parts or all of a traumatic event
- Irritability or unprovoked angry outbursts
- Panic attacks
- Chaotic or impulsive behavior
- Avoiding experiences that trigger unwanted memories
- Feeling disconnected or emotionally numb
- Feelings of anger, guilt, worry or depression
- Difficulty forming close relationships
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Being easily startled
Trauma Recovery Is Possible
If you’re struggling with the effects of trauma, we can help. Our clinicians are specially trained to address the complexities of trauma. Recovering from trauma is a difficult, but it can change your life in extraordinary ways. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation: 844-876-5568
To learn more about Trauma Recovery, call 844-876-5568