Defining Trauma Informed Care
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.” Trauma informed care recognizes that everyone experiences trauma in their lives. What determines its impact is how serious the trauma is, how recurrent and how we process it among other things. Different people respond differently to trauma, as you might expect. Some of us are more resilient to its effects than others. Addiction treatment that incorporates trauma informed care also shows us that environment plays a big role for several reasons.
- Your environment could make traumatic events more (or less) likely.
- How you grow up and where you live plays a role in how (and if) you learn how to cope with trauma.
- People with live with or who are important to us form part of our environment. How they deal with trauma can influence how we do.
- The socio-cultural perspective of trauma informed care focuses on environmental causes and effects to find solutions.
3 Main Trauma Types
When discussing trauma informed care, it’s helpful to define trauma carefully. There are limitless forms that trauma can take, but there are 3 main trauma types more or less. Knowing which type a particular form of trauma falls into can be helpful from a therapeutic perspective. For example, it may play a role in both how it affects a person and how to approach the solution. Here are the 3 main trauma types.
- Acute Trauma: This type comes from a traumatic event. Maybe a car accident or rape, for example.
- Chronic Trauma: Trauma which happens again and again over time. Like being stalked by an ex or physically abused over time.
- Complex Trauma: Complex trauma usually involves a combination of trauma types spread across a long course of time.
How Can Trauma Informed Care Save Lives Though?
Effective addiction treatment in and of itself saves lives every day. Anything that can safely move someone out of the path of a rampaging addiction may well save their life. Addiction in all its forms claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year in the United States alone. Trauma-aware addiction treatment can save lives because it uncovers the beating heart that drives the addiction. More often than not addiction forms in powerful emotions. We use drugs and alcohol to change the way we feel. Our most powerful emotions, especially the ones we don’t want to feel are typically the prime motivator for addictive behaviors. A full ¾ of people in addiction treatment report traumatic events in their lives.
The Link Between Emotions, Trauma and Addiction
What causes more powerful and deep-rooted emotions than trauma? The feelings associate with trauma are the most difficult to escape. This is where addiction rears it’s ugly head. It lies. It promises a way out. Some relief where none seems to be found. Trauma informed care saves lives by offering a better answer to trauma than drugs or alcohol ever can. Because treatment and recovery don’t just mask the pain. They lead to the growth and healing that are really the only way past the pain of trauma. There is no way around trauma and it’s after-effects and we ignore it or try to cover it up at our peril. It’s dangerous. A bit like covering a bear trap with some branches and hoping it will just ‘go away’. It won’t. You’re going to end up stepping in that bear trap again unless you learn to move past it. That’s what trauma-aware addiction treatment does for us. It gives us a way through trauma.
Trauma Informed Care Works
NJ Rehabs is always looking to science for new answers in the addiction battle. As much of a challenge as addiction is, we need every tool we can get to help people overcome it. Learning to process and cope with trauma is an incredibly powerful asset in recovery. It takes a lot of the power away from addictive impulses. It leads to a lot of new self-discovery and understanding. Improves self-esteem and confidence. People who find closure for trauma often feel like they have a new lease on life. You could say trauma savvy treatment saves lives in more ways than one. Yes, it can prevent someone from literally dying as a result of addiction or it’s consequences. But it can also save a person’s best life by helping them become the person they were always meant to be instead of a fearful, downtrodden shadow of that true self. . We will continue to bring the most effective tools available to bear on the problems we help people solve. Most of our staff are in long-term recovery. So, we really get addiction and recovery. We welcome the opportunity and privilege of helping you or your loved one begin their recovery.