Renaissance Ranch

Is Trauma-Informed Treatment for Me?

Jun 18, 2024

Traumatic experiences have an undeniable impact on the way we think, feel, and act in daily life. Despite this, some people may neglect to realize that their current substance abuse or other mental health concerns likely root back to past traumatic events. Treatment centers that utilize trauma-informed treatment recognize the role that trauma plays in an individual’s well-being, including their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Learning more about this holistic approach to healing and recovery can help individuals know what to expect as well as how trauma-informed treatment can be especially valuable to their long-term recovery. 

At Renaissance Ranch, we understand how trauma from the past can deeply affect an individual’s ideas about themselves, others, and the world around them. Moreover, without professional treatment, these effects do not subside but rather exacerbate over time. Fortunately, we are advocates for survivors of trauma and, thus, implement the use of trauma-informed treatment for each client we serve. As trauma recovery often plays a key role in an individual’s ability to establish sobriety and sustain healing, we believe trauma-informed treatment is an essential component of effective rehabilitation and treatment. 

What Is a Traumatic Event?

As explained by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “A traumatic event is a shocking, scary, or dangerous experience that can affect someone emotionally and physically.” Indeed, life-threatening events, like witnessing or being the victim of extreme acts of violence, motor vehicle accidents, and more, can be traumatic. Yet, traumatic events can also appear less obvious, such as abruptly losing a loved one, being diagnosed with a serious illness, and enduring psychological abuse.

It is important to keep in mind that these examples of traumatic events only scratch the surface of events that may bring about long-lasting consequences to an individual’s life. Meanwhile, the circumstances of or type of event do not determine whether or not it is traumatic. Rather, the lasting impact of a potentially traumatic event is determined by the subjective emotional experience that an individual had in response to said event. 

Amidst shocking or dangerous events, an individual may experience a plethora of different emotions. For instance, they may feel anxious, fearful, and overwhelmed. Additionally, they may likely experience physical symptoms in response to the activation of the body’s fight-or-flight response. Although most of these symptoms will dissipate once the threat is no longer present, some individuals may continue to experience these symptoms and more after a threat is long gone. Oftentimes, this can be an indication of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Addressing the Long-Lasting Effects of Trauma

Furthermore, as explained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Research has shown that traumatic experiences are associated with both behavioral health and chronic physical health conditions, especially those traumatic events that occur during childhood.” Trauma can, quite literally, trigger intense changes to brain structure and functioning. With professional treatment, trauma can be effectively integrated to minimize the potential for cognitive distortions and maladaptive behaviors to develop. 

When trauma is left unresolved, however, these changes can make individuals more vulnerable to mental health disorders as well as substance abuse problems. According to Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services published by SAMHSA, individuals with unresolved trauma may experience some of the following long-lasting effects:

  • Chronic emotional distress
  • Physical arousal
  • Dissociation
  • Exhaustion
  • Sleep disorders and nightmares
  • Intrusive thoughts and memories (such as flashbacks)
  • Depression
  • Persistent feelings of guilt and shame
  • Cognitive errors

In an attempt to cope with these effects and other symptoms, many individuals may self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs. Yet, whether an individual does this intentionally or not, self-medicating practices can undoubtedly bring about more harm than good. Not only can the use of alcohol and other drugs cause worsened withdrawal symptoms when sober but it can also trigger the development of substance use disorder (SUD) and addiction. More often than not, present addictions can be traced back to unresolved traumatic experiences from an individual’s past.

What Is Trauma-Informed Treatment?

As highlighted in an issue brief published by SAMHSA, “Many individuals who seek treatment in behavioral health settings have histories of trauma, but they often don’t recognize the significant effects of trauma in their lives; either they don’t draw connections between their trauma histories and their presenting problems, or they avoid the topic altogether.” Thus, facilities that prioritize the use of trauma-informed treatment acknowledge the likely presence of trauma in their client’s lives to prevent retraumatization and, ultimately, deliver the most effective care to improve their quality of life in recovery.

More specifically, the aforementioned publication explains, “Trauma-informed care acknowledges the need to understand a patient’s life experiences in order to deliver effective care and has the potential to improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, health outcomes, and provider and staff wellness.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are six guiding principles to trauma-informed treatment. These include:

  • Saftey
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration & mutuality
  • Empowerment voice & choice
  • Cultural, historical, & gender issues 

Trauma-Informed Treatment at Renaissance Ranch

In short, trauma-informed treatment is for everyone. Not only does it foster a more proactive approach to safety for clients but it also highlights the critical role of client choice in treatment and recovery. 

At Renaissance Ranch, clients do not have to know whether or not unresolved trauma is playing a role in their current mental health or substance abuse concerns to benefit from trauma-informed treatment. We utilize trauma-informed treatment for all of our clients because we know how vital it can be for fostering transformation in recovery. 

More often than not, problem behaviors like substance abuse develop in an attempt to cope with the ongoing effects of traumatic experiences from the past. Trauma-informed treatment rests on this notion, working to prevent retraumatization while also fostering compassionate and collaborative care with clients. If you or a loved one is wondering whether or not trauma-informed care is for you, it can be helpful to recognize that trauma-informed care can benefit everyone. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer a wide range of treatment programs for men seeking recovery from substance abuse, mental health disorders, and more. Meanwhile, trauma-informed care lies at the core of our treatment philosophy. Learn more about how we can support your recovery by calling (801) 308-8898 today.