Research has shown direct connections between untreated trauma, substance use disorder (SUD), and co-occurring mental health issues. As women in recovery ourselves, we know many of us struggle with unaddressed trauma.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Women who have a SUD are also more likely to have histories of trauma, including sexual or physical abuse, and abuse or witnessing abuse in childhood.” Trauma can hinder progress during treatment and recovery unless it is properly addressed.
We created Emerge Recovery TX with a trauma-informed approach to ensure our clients feel heard, respected, and valued. Every team member at our facility is trained in offering treatment for trauma, which we believe can help ensure a history of trauma doesn’t interfere with the recovery process.
Our curriculum is designed by women, for women to reduce the risk of ineffective treatment, relapse, or unintentional retraumatization with trauma-informed treatment.
What Are the ‘Flight, Fight, Freeze, and Fawn’ Responses?
Trauma causes changes in how the brain and body react to stimuli both during the event and long after. Many people know about the “flight, fight, freeze, or fawn” responses. Movies, television shows, books, and social media posts have used these terms to describe a wide range of situations and trauma responses.
According to the journal BMC Psychology, “the fight-flight-freeze response . . . has been described as a built-in defense mechanism triggered by fear or trauma, whether physical or psychological.” The article then provides more detail about each response:
“This fear reaction is explained below:
- Fight – this entails facing the danger and fighting the threat aggressively.
- Flight – this implies running away from the threat to try and save yourself.
- Freeze – this is equivalent to playing dead through immobility until the threat passes.
- Fawn – This is the submissive response that serves to avoid conflict.”
Variations in Trauma Responses
These responses to stress have been linked to physical and mental changes that can be negative. For example, women who “freeze” during a traumatic event may experience the following:
- A sense of unreality
- Mental confusion
- Difficulty focusing
- Physical immobility
Every woman reacts differently to trauma. Each woman’s experience may include some, all, or none of the trauma responses listed above. According to the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, “[T]here is meaningful variability in freeze behavior among nonclinical participants.” Flight, fight, freeze, or fawn responses can vary significantly from person to person. However, most women experience some version of these responses during high emotional distress or physical trauma.
What to Expect From Trauma-Informed Care
Trauma-informed care provides a safe space to recover from trauma and learn to manage trauma-related symptoms. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Research has shown that substance abuse treatment using a trauma-informed approach could lead to better treatment outcomes, such as greater symptom reduction and increased retention in treatment.”
We have hand-selected the clinicians at Emerge Recovery TX to create a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment that facilitates this type of healing. Trauma treatment improves the outcome for individuals recovering from complex or persistent mental health issues.
How Treatment for Trauma Helps Women Recover
Women who live with trauma feel the impact in every area of their lives. Trauma-informed programs provide valuable support and resources that help women address the root causes of their addiction. In addition, trauma-informed care ensures the following:
- Clinicians and case managers understand the many possible connections between trauma, substance misuse, and co-occurring mental health issues
- Each client experiences a proactive approach to client and clinician safety, which reduces the risk of re-traumatization
- That women have a safe space where they feel empowered and in control of their recovery
Because our clinicians are trained to provide trauma-informed treatment, we are able to offer the women in our care a wide range of support services, ensuring they feel heard and respected on their journey to healing. Trauma-informed treatment supports women as they develop the coping skills needed to manage trauma responses while treating mental health and substance use disorders.
Finding Effective Treatment for Trauma at Emerge Recovery TX
Trauma treatment often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), experiential therapies, and other forms of psychotherapy. Women in recovery use talk therapy or trauma-specific treatments to address underlying causes of substance misuse and persistent side effects.
Some of the most common types of treatment for trauma-related issues at Emerge Recovery TX include:
- Alternative holistic therapies like trauma-informed yoga
- Individual and group therapy
- Mindfulness-based therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Prescription medication for anxiety or other symptoms
- Peer support
EMDR therapy is one of the most popular techniques used to treat trauma. Every clinician at Emerge Recovery TX is trained in EMDR therapy.
Therapists offer EMDR as short-term relief or long-term support, depending on the individual needs of each client. Women have the option to begin EMDR during treatment and continue afterward if they need more time and support resolving trauma-related issues.
Treatment for Trauma in Aftercare
Issues related to trauma often take a while to resolve and reprocess. Women participating in rehabilitation may need to continue EMDR or other treatments with their clinician during aftercare.
Fortunately, the care team at Emerge Recovery TX includes clinicians with private practices. That means that clients can continue to receive support for trauma-related issues from clinicians after they complete treatment for SUD. Each woman’s case manager and care team will help her develop an aftercare plan. Most women with persistent symptoms continue attending individual trauma therapy with their clinicians after leaving Emerge Recovery TX.
Leah & Laurel
Millions of women struggle to live with the effects of untreated trauma symptoms. Over half of women diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) have a history of trauma. Professional mental health treatment provides the best outcomes for women recovering from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Emerge Recovery TX offers trauma-informed care for women participating in intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment. You can collaborate with your case manager and care team to determine the best treatment methods and services to address your needs. The care team ensures all women in treatment have access to the resources and tools they need to build a healthier future. To learn more, call us at (737) 237-9663.