in Los Angeles
The impact of trauma may cause profound affects on people and the ability to function normally in their lives. A traumatic experience can create upsetting emotions, feelings of being disconnected from others or self, hyper-vigilance and ongoing intrusive memories. You may feel numb or unable to concentrate on simple tasks during your day. You may struggle with maintaining intimate, trusting relationships. Whether the trauma is a recent experience or a past situation, the long lasting effects can be damaging to your trust, your feelings of self worth and your hope for the future.
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton
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Trauma Counseling in Los Angeles, CA
Trauma left untreated can become a minefield for you to deal with.
Whether stemming from a one-time incident or something ongoing, the trauma you’ve experienced becomes a formative part of your existence, slowly seeping into every part of your life and profoundly affecting your ability to function normally.
Unchecked trauma functions as a wedge, creating an ever-increasing distance between yourself and those you care about and who care about you. Recurring, intrusive memories can start to make you feel numb or unable to concentrate on the simplest of daily tasks.
No matter if the trauma occurred recently or stretches back to childhood, the long-term effects serve to erode your trust in others which makes maintaining deep, intimate relationships a colossal struggle.
Trauma begins to define you and lay waste to your self-worth, decimating your hope for the future in the process.
It’s a domino effect and it’s a lot to handle.
Too much in fact, which is why many people reach for substances to try to alleviate the accompanying anxiety, shame, depression and anger.
But before getting into the relationship between addiction and trauma, let’s define the term. As the National Trauma Consortium puts it, “trauma means experiencing, witnessing, or being threatened with an event or events that involve actual serious injury, a threat to the physical integrity of one’s self or others, or possible death. The responses to these events include intense fear, helplessness, or horror”.
With responses like intense fear, helplessness and horror, is it any wonder people seek an escape in the form of drugs or alcohol?
A study of childhood trauma, something which is particularly pernicious and insidious, notes that “exposure to traumatic experiences, especially those occurring in childhood, has been linked to substance use disorders (SUDs), including abuse and dependence. It goes on to say that “in surveys of adolescents receiving treatment for substance abuse, more than 70% of patients had a history of trauma exposure”.
It’s important here to mention post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well, which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) describes as “a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what’s happening, and you may feel very afraid”.
Substances seem like a way out for many. Disproportionately so for veterans with more than 2 out of 10 (20%) of them having a co-occurring substance use disorder while the general public figures are roughly 7 out of every 100 people, or 7%.
Trouble is, regardless of the type of trauma, the cause of it, when it happened, etc. the drugs or alcohol you take to cope with it are only providing the illusion of relief. A temporary and fleeting respite from the ongoing torture. Worse yet, substances may actually magnify the emotional pain.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) drives it home, saying, “physically or emotionally traumatized people are at much higher risk for drug use and SUDs and the co-occurrence of these disorders is associated with inferior treatment outcomes. PTSD may use substances in an attempt to reduce their anxiety and to avoid dealing with trauma and its consequences”.
That potential for inferior treatment stemming from not treating both things together because they really do work off each other. The trauma feeding the addiction and the addiction masking the trauma.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sums up nicely why these issues occasionally occur at the same time; “mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma”.
Therefore, to really give yourself a fighting shot at overcoming this and living a life free from addiction and trauma, it’s critical to pinpoint and work through that underlying cause.
At Inneractions trauma therapy in Los Angeles, our team of licensed therapists and addiction specialists have more than 30 years of combined experience working with those suffering from co-occurring conditions.
We’re here to assist you in letting go of the substances and emotional burden caused by the traumatic experience through evidence-based methods and modalities like; CBT, DBT, Reality Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy.
In both individual and group sessions, we’ll walk you through the memories in a gentle, safe manner offering you the opportunity to make sense of the experience. To feel the necessary and real emotions holding you back which ultimately allows you to finally move you forward with your life, leaving the trauma behind.
You’ll learn new, healthy coping mechanisms and, through increased awareness, work to shift the very way in which you think.
Taking back control of your life by overcoming trauma and addiction is not only possible, it’s exactly what you deserve. Give yourself the chance to get better at Inneractions.
Many people reach for substances to try to alleviate the accompanying anxiety, shame, depression and anger. Although the substances provide the illusion of temporary relief, they actually magnify the emotional pain.
At inneractions, our experienced therapists are here to assist you in letting go of the emotional bonds caused by the traumatic experience. We will walk through the memories in a gentle, safe manner offering you the opportunity to make sense of the experience, to feel the necessary emotions holding you back and to move you forward with your life, leaving the trauma behind.