Untreated trauma is a pernicious, life-threatening, and pervasive root cause of problematic substance use.
Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are more common than people believe and do not only affect people exposed to major catastrophic events. All people can become traumatized, and it does not require being exposed to a disastrous or violent event to be affected by trauma. Trauma can also affect children. So-called ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences, including domestic violence, parental incarceration, suicide within the family system, witnessing family members experience mental health problems, and other negative life experiences, can instill trauma at a young age. Regardless of the age at which an individual becomes traumatized, the results can be debilitating.
Untreated trauma reduces the ability of people to access their emotions, makes them distance themselves from family and friends, and leads to hypervigilance, anxiety, and depression. All too often, people experiencing trauma self-medicate its painful psychological symptoms with substances. The relationship between trauma and addictive disorders is well-established, and trauma must be identified and addressed to clear the pathway for other therapies to treat substance use disorders successfully.
New Paradigm Recovery therapists are highly trained to identify and treat trauma. Through evidence-based therapies, including EMDR and somatic experiencing, New Paradigm team members help clients learn to process and reframe their traumatic experiences so that they can reconnect to their authentic emotions and stop experiencing the deeply problematic side effects of unresolved trauma.
Finding ways to reduce or eliminate behaviors, experiences, or other factors that retraumatize clients is also part of the trauma treatment process. When the sources of trauma can be identified and overcome, people can begin to regain a healthy somatic experience of their world, feel less anxious, and experience fewer negative feelings that substances helped them to escape.