PTSD and Addiction Treatment

Trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common co-occurring mental health disorders that develop alongside addiction and substance use disorders. According to the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Illness Administration, 75% of women and men in addiction treatment programs have experienced trauma or abuse at some point in their lives. PTSD and addiction are often diagnosed together and can have a tremendous impact on the recovery process from substance addiction. In order to best address issues of trauma and substance addiction, intensive and rigorous programs from PTSD and addiction treatment centers can guide clients on their recovery journey. 


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Trauma Related Addiction Treatment

At Hotel California by The Sea’s addiction and trauma therapy, our addiction experts understood this early on in the development of a comprehensive program designed specifically for those in need of trauma and addiction recovery. By incorporating numerous treatments for healing early childhood trauma and adult trauma, our clients have a better chance of maintaining abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is both an involuntary bodily or emotional response to a disturbing or distressing event. It can cause problems with coping, a diminished sense of self, and an inability to regulate stressful emotions. Physical symptoms like headaches or nausea may also occur. And while these feelings are normal after the initial incident, those who have difficulty moving on with their lives are those who struggle with trauma. Trauma can be caused or triggered by sexual abuse or violence, military combat, emotional abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence or the death of a loved one. 

The long-term effects of trauma usually go hand-in-hand with the development of an alcohol and substance use disorder. Traumatic experiences cause chemical changes in the brain and some studies suggest trauma can activate genes in a person’s body that are associated with the development of mental illness. Trauma is a condition relative to its sufferer, meaning it manifests in different ways depending on the individual at hand. 

Is there a parallel between Addiction and Trauma Therapy?

PTSD and addiction often occur alongside each other and research show exposure to trauma during early childhood is a leading risk factor for the chances of developing an addiction to substances during adulthood. An individual experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, and other distressing emotions of PTSD are more likely to seek comfort and self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. They turn to substances to help them regulate, control their emotions and mask the pain of their traumatic experience. 

The certified clinical addiction professionals at Hotel California by The Sea’s addiction and trauma therapy, understand the importance of helping our clients build effective emotional coping skills. This is especially prioritized when assisting patients dealing with trauma related addiction. Our PTSD and addiction treatment will help patients improve the ability to manage painful feelings and build a strong support network through evidenced based treatments. The goal for our patients is to achieve a well-rounded approach to healing their trauma and substance abuse addiction. 


Signs to look for in Trauma and Addiction Recovery

Symptoms of PTSD can begin as early as three months after a traumatic incident has been experienced. And on the opposite spectrum, some symptoms can even occur as late as a year after the incident. A clinical diagnosis of trauma or PTSD is when an individual experiences the following indicators:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms – these types of symptoms disrupt a person’s daily routine and can include flashbacks, bad dreams, or disturbing thoughts.
  • Avoidance symptoms – these types of symptoms will cause a person to change up their daily routine and can include staying away from certain places or events and avoiding feelings related to the traumatic experience. 
  • Arousal and reactivity symptoms – these types of symptoms include being easily startled and constantly feeling tense and on edge. 
  • Cognition and mood symptoms – these types of symptoms include having negative thoughts and distorted feelings and loss of interest in once enjoyable activities.

Signs and symptoms of trauma and PTSD can differ from person to person. It can also vary between men, women and young adults. At Hotel California by the Sea, trauma and addiction recovery programs specialize in PTSD and addiction aimed at helping people across all spectrums through effective group and individual therapies. 

Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders are often associated with PTSD and Addiction

Addressing trauma-related addiction and PTSD is crucial to achieving long-term recovery in addicts and alcoholics looking to remain substance free. It can be a primary predictor for future substance abuse and other co-occurring mental health disorders. Therefore, it is important to treat both substance abuse disorder as well as mental health disorders simultaneously as they can be a catalyst for one another. Therapies such as CBT, DBT and EMDR are often recommended treatments for those suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders such as trauma and PTSD. 

Our comprehensive approach to Trauma and Addiction Recovery

In our addiction and trauma therapy at Hotel California by The Sea, we offer multiple levels of trauma-related addiction treatment for those struggling with trauma and substance abuse and addiction. These treatments include medical detox, inpatient residential addiction treatment, outpatient programs and various continuing care services. A considerable amount of our clients enter our addiction treatment center with a history of trauma and undiagnosed PTSD.

As soon as our patients enter into our treatment program, they are assessed by both a medical physician and a licensed psychiatric professional in order to diagnose any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be present. Long-term recovery from substance use disorder and addiction requires treatment that addresses all the diseases that exist alongside addiction. This includes ones caused by trauma and PTSD. Some of the treatments used to help those suffering from PTSD and addiction include DBT, CBT, group therapy and grief and loss counseling. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps patients manage painful emotions related to trauma and addiction. DBT is often used as a trauma treatment for addicts. Individuals will work on improving their ability to accept and be present in their current moods and situations. Individuals will work on the ability to tolerate negative emotions instead of trying to avoid them. Individuals will learn how to manage intense emotions. Ultimately, those with trauma-related addiction will learn and practice effective communication techniques throughout their relationships that have been strained due to their addiction. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves helping patients change negative thinking patterns and negative behaviors related to their trauma and substance abuse. CBT can be very helpful for patients dealing with trauma and PTSD-related addiction. It encourages patients to re-evaluate their negative thinking patterns by helping them confront events, thoughts and feelings related to their trauma and change them into a more positive or neutral mindset. 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) helps patients heal from the symptoms and emotional distress resulting from trauma or disturbing life experiences and events. This type of therapy is recommended for patients suffering from PTSD and focuses on the past, the present and the future and how each of these time periods of one’s addiction can be transformed from negative to positive. EMDR patients work on the memories related to their addiction and work to change the way the memory is processed in the brain. This will ultimately reduce difficult symptoms associated with their trauma and substance abuse. 

Grief and Loss Counseling

Grief and loss counseling is dedicated to helping patients heal in a healthy manner through understanding and coping with the emotions they may be experiencing. There are five stages of grief that include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some of the common symptoms of grief include shock and disbelief, sadness and despair, guilt, anger, anxiety and fear and even physical symptoms such as weight loss or gain and insomnia. Though these are very normal symptoms to experience when dealing with grief and loss, some individuals have difficulty coping and seek out professional help to overcome their emotions. This type of therapy is often used for trauma treatment for addicts suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders. 

Peer Support Groups and Group Therapy

Group therapy and peer support groups for trauma-related addiction treatment can help patients build a strong support system of like-minded peers who may be experiencing similar obstacles throughout their own recovery journey. Oftentimes patients suffering from trauma and substance abuse feel isolated from their friends, families and loved ones who do not understand what they may be facing throughout their recovery.

Group therapy sessions are helpful for patients to receive feedback, offer insight and encouragement and ultimately help hold each other accountable for their recovery. Peer support groups such as Anxiety Anonymous and Daily Strength work in a similar process, in which patients feel a part of a community working together toward healing and recovery.  

Mindfulness techniques, Meditation, and other Holistic Practices

In a more holistic approach to trauma-related addiction treatment, practicing mindfulness and meditation can be effective in helping patients recover. Meditation helps create self-awareness that there is space between our thoughts and emotions. The negative feelings we have associated with our trauma and substance abuse don’t define us and it is possible to separate from those destructive emotions.

Research has shown that trauma and PTSD can negatively alter the structures in our brain. PTSD specifically damages the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. This part of the brain is responsible for our fight or flight response. With meditation and the practice of mindfulness, this treatment can help repair this same part of the brain bringing it back to its normal functioning status. 

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Gender targeted PTSD and Addiction treatment for Men

Men and women face different obstacles when dealing with PTSD and addiction. Therefore, personalized treatment plans are key to helping patients address underlying mental health disorders related to their substance addiction. Due to social and cultural conditioning, many men believe they don’t need treatment for their trauma, or that seeking help will give off the perception of being weak and not masculine. Suppressing traumatic events or denying them all together can cause the trauma to turn into a catalyst for other mental health illnesses such as eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and even depression. 

At Hotel California by The Sea, we offer gender-specific treatment programs for men in two separate age groups: young adult men and mature men over 30. Each of these programs is targeted to the needs of the participants and the unique challenges they face in trauma-related addiction. Individual therapies such as CBT and EMDR as well as group therapy sessions are especially helpful in helping individuals understand their addictions and heal.

Men are surrounded by a safe and structured environment and are more open to listening and understanding their co-occurring mental health disorders and how it affects their addiction. In our trauma-related addiction treatments, clinical rehab professionals, who include physicians, psychiatrists and case managers, will work with patients to address their gender-specific needs to help them achieve their goals for sobriety and life free from addiction. 

PTSD Addiction treatment developed uniquely for Females

Women are more likely to experience traumatic events in childhood, adulthood and throughout their active addiction. Some of this trauma includes sexual and relationship trauma and being in treatment around men can oftentimes be triggering for female patients. At Hotel California by the Sea, our exclusively female treatment program offers a specialized trauma treatment track for women suffering from PTSD and addiction. In an intimate setting, women can sort through their trauma and substance abuse with private therapists two to three times a week and begin healing with the support of their peers. 

We offer various cognitive and behavioral therapies such as CBT, DBT and EMDR to help our female patients understand their underlying trauma and how it affects their drug and alcohol addiction. Females will learn effective coping techniques to help them through emotional, stressful and triggering events and thoughts related to their trauma and ultimately their addiction. The levels of care for female patients in treatment for trauma-related addiction include medical detox, residential treatment programs, PHP, IOP and followed by various aftercare services. Our PTSD and addiction program aims to help patients maintain a high quality of life free from substance abuse. 

Get Help at our PTSD and Addiction Treatment Centers

Addiction doesn’t discriminate and neither does trauma. Hotel California by The Sea approaches PTSD and addiction along with every other mental health disorder with evidenced-based expertise, effective treatment programs and compassionate care. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, PTSD or another co-occurring mental health disorder, call the admissions team at our PTSD and addiction treatment centers and learn more about what you can do to start healing today. Our trauma treatment for addicts addresses each person holistically working to help them physically and psychologically recover from their addiction. 

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