Understanding the connection between trauma and alcoholic tendencies is crucial in order to help those struggling with addiction. Individuals seeking alcoholism treatment programs will have the chance to speak with therapists or counselors about their traumatic experiences. These professionals are able to help them process and reframe their trauma in new and beneficial ways. When patients are able to rediscover how to trust themselves, as well as others, they are one step closer to recovery. As individuals progress through treatment, they will be better equipped to develop stronger relationships with themselves and those around them.
In this blog post we will discuss the relationship between trauma and alcoholism, as well as how the phases of trauma recovery can help during alcoholism treatment.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is an often misunderstood but serious disease. It can manifest itself differently in different people, which makes it difficult to diagnose without proper medical expertise. Generally speaking, alcoholism is a dependence on alcohol that disrupts an individual’s physical and psychological health and has a detrimental effect on social relationships. People who suffer from alcoholism will experience cravings for alcohol that generally cannot be resisted. This typically results in the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages despite negative health, social or economic consequences.
Programs are available for those seeking alcoholism treatment that involve both physical and psychological components. If left untreated, this disease can greatly damage the health of the individual and their relationships with loved ones.
The Relationship Between Trauma and Alcoholism
Trauma can be linked to alcoholism or alcoholic tendencies for a number of reasons. For some, they turn to alcohol to try to numb the pain of past trauma that they never properly healed from. This form of trauma is tricky because it may not be apparent on the surface, but it can creep up at any given time. Past trauma has the ability to cause individuals severe anxiety, stress, and depression, in addition to physical symptoms like heart palpitations, stomach issues and even headaches. When these feelings occur, it can be confusing, unnerving and difficult to handle. Because of this, individuals may choose to turn to alcohol to help suppress these unwanted emotions, negative thoughts and painful memories. Once this cycle of addiction begins to develop, it can feel impossible to break out of it. With the help of alcoholism treatment programs, individuals are able to learn healthier, more positive ways to deal with their inner turmoil and ultimately heal from their past trauma altogether.
What Are The Phases of Trauma Recovery During Alcoholism Treatment?
Recovering from trauma is a complex and highly individualized experience. In general, trauma recovery involves three phases: safety and stabilization, remembrance and mourning, and reconnection and integration. Initially created in the late 1800’s by Dr. Pierre Janet, this process became wide-spread thanks to its inclusion in Dr. Judith Herman’s 1992 book titled, Trauma and Recovery.
It is debated amongst those in the field of psychology whether or not it is necessary for individuals to revisit traumatic experiences in order to facilitate proper healing. The trauma that someone has lived through is extremely personal and it should always remain up to the patient whether they want to share that part of their story.
Phase I: Safety and Stabilization
When individuals experience trauma, it’s normal for them to feel unsafe in their bodies, unsafe in their environment, and even unsafe with other people. This concern for safety is a primary factor of dealing with the aftermath of trauma and is the first step towards recovery. The time frame for regaining a sense of safety will depend largely on the type and length of the trauma. Acute traumas may take days to weeks while chronic situations may require months or even years.
Figuring out what areas of life need stabilizing and how that can be accomplished is an important part of alcoholism treatment programs. It can seem like a daunting task at first but having a sense of empowerment through understanding and taking small steps towards reaching stability can make it much more manageable.
Phase II: Remembrance and Mourning
Remembrance and mourning are important steps in the second phase of trauma recovery. Processing the emotions that are related to trauma allows an affected individual to find safety and stability. An understanding and compassionate counselor or therapist can work with a person to put words and emotions to their trauma, allowing them to explore the losses associated with their experience. This creates a safe space for grieving, expressing emotion and ultimately integrating the story of their trauma, rather than reacting in fight, flight or freeze responses.
Phase III: Reconnection and Integration
The third and final stage of recovery from trauma focuses on reconnection and integration. It is the critical moment when someone discovers a new sense of self and creates a positive vision for their future. A large part of alcoholism treatment programs include establishing profound and meaningful relationships and moving beyond the trauma in order to become a fully integrated individual. Through determination, commitment to growth, and resilience, even after suffering through traumatic events, it is possible to redefine oneself and live an empowered life.
Benefits of Attending An Alcoholism Treatment Program
One of the most important benefits of attending an alcoholism treatment program is that it can provide those struggling with trauma a safe, supportive, and therapeutic environment. In individual therapy sessions, for example, professionals will help to address the emotional damage caused by past traumatic experiences in order to develop healthy coping strategies and promote healing. Group therapy options are also available which provides an opportunity to receive support from peers who understand the challenges related to dealing with addiction as and trauma simultaneously.
Attending an alcoholism recovery program helps individuals become part of a supported network that encourages growth and increased self-awareness throughout the rehabilitation process.
Learn Healthy Habits With Alcoholism Treatment Programs at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
At Georgia Addiction Treatment Center, our goal is to empower individuals to build confidence in their journey towards recovery.
We have developed an alcoholism treatment program that is specifically designed to help those with a history of trauma. Through evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, individuals can process their traumatic experiences and build the skills needed to navigate their feelings in new ways.
By offering specialized trauma-focused treatment, we are able to help people identify any unresolved psychological distress that might have contributed to their substance abuse issues and address it accordingly. We provide our patients with a secure and safe environment where they can explore the impacts of past trauma and create strong support systems.
Reach out to the addiction specialists at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center today to learn more about how we can help.