Embracing Trauma Recovery as a Process

Embracing Trauma Recovery as a Process

Healing from trauma is one of the main objectives in life of people who have been through traumatic events such as natural disasters, the death of a loved one, extreme violence, and other similar causes. For these people, recovering from trauma becomes a goal not only to have emotional stability, but also to regain their productivity and peacefulness.

However, some people believe that recovering from trauma is just like healing from a physical disease, expecting results once and for all. But what needs to be understood is that recovery is a long-term process, and a process-based approach is necessary to measure the progress of healing.

Healing from Trauma as a Process

Research from the University of Illinois describes three main stages for the recovery of someone diagnosed with psychological trauma:

  • Ensuring the safety of the patient
  • Mental reconstruction of the event
  • Becoming a functional member of the community

Recovery has been considered a process for many years now. And as we can see in this example, the process could last weeks, months, or be a lifetime process.

But instead of this being discouraging, the idea of making progress towards healing should help reassure people struggling with the aftermath of trauma that recovery is possible.

According to the American Psychological Association, research has found that most people who go through a traumatic experience are resilient and eventually are able to overcome the trauma by themselves. However, it also recommends that, in case of persistent symptoms that affect everyday activities or general wellbeing of the sufferer, professional help might be necessary to initiate the process of recovery.

Finding professional help is important, particularly when the traumatic event was of a considerable magnitude and to make sure the patient is making progress towards healing or if further attention is needed. For example, a person who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will need a more detailed program of recovery to address not only the trauma, but also other negative situations arising from it.

Interpersonal functioning has also been an important part of the process of recovery. An example of this approach can be seen in the Women’s Trauma Recovery Program for women veterans. The focus of this program relies on two main methods:

  • Psycho-education
  • Classes to teach new coping skills

One of the main characteristics of this program is that it is a residential program. This means that the patients are admitted to the facilities for an approximate period of sixty days, although the stay can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances and particular needs of the patient.

Programs such as this focus much of the attention on helping the patients clearly see the progress they are making. This is important because, as previously noted, recovering from trauma is a process that in some cases lasts for long periods of time and even life. But this does not mean that the intensity or negative effects of the trauma will remain the same. Through psychological education, support, and care, the patients learn how to cope with negative feelings and emotions in order to improve their quality of life as time goes by. This is true even in cases where the trauma was of significant proportions.

The Relationship Between Addiction and Trauma

A 2010 publication found in the US National Library of Medicine describes the link between childhood trauma and substance abuse. After a series of studies, the results showed high rates of addiction between people who had had a traumatic even in their childhood. Particularly, it was discovered that the level of use was almost proportional to the level of abuse that the participants had in their childhood.

Studies such as this one are useful in understanding why people struggling with trauma can be considered at risk of developing substance abuse or addiction. In some cases, people receive treatment for their addiction but not for the trauma as the underlying cause. The effectiveness of the treatment, therefore, is limited, and the person usually relapses or struggles to stay sober while also struggling with the negative consequences of the trauma.

That is why many programs of recovery function as a Dual Diagnosis program addressing both problems at the same time. Patients have the opportunity to make real progress towards recovery, while at the same time learn of the different skills and strategies that will help them recover a full, satisfying, and productive life.

Would You Like Addiction Help for Addiction and Trauma?

Our toll-free helpline is available at any time of the day or night with free information regarding programs for recovery and the different ways to overcome addiction and trauma. An experienced addiction treatment associate will help you find what you need for you or your loved one, including intervention services, Dual Diagnosis rehab centers, family counseling, assistance and advice on how to use health insurance for treatment. You don’t have to leave home to begin receiving the help that you need.