Treatment for Trauma and PTSD

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Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are silent battles fought by countless individuals. These conditions can be debilitating, casting a shadow over one’s life, but there is hope for those who seek help and support. Those who don’t seek treatment, however, are at an increased risk of substance abuse, addiction, and other mental health issues that can affect their overall quality of life.

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we hold a firm belief that the root cause of addiction must be treated in order for people to recover and enjoy healthy, fulfilling lives. That’s why our program is designed to assess your individual needs and provide treatment that’s right for you. Since we often see clients who have experienced trauma or have developed PTSD as a result of their traumatic experiences, we offer comprehensive trauma and PTSD treatment programs in New Jersey.

Understanding Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a distressing event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope effectively. Trauma can take many forms, from a single catastrophic incident, such as a car accident or natural disaster, to prolonged exposure to dangerous or distressing situations, like domestic abuse, childhood neglect, or combat.

Trauma is not one-size-fits-all; it can be experienced differently from person to person. What may be traumatic for one individual might not have the same impact on another. This variability stems from a combination of factors, including personal resilience, support systems, and the nature of the traumatic event itself.

Trauma can manifest in various ways, and its effects can persist long after the traumatic event has occurred. Some common psychological responses to trauma include:

  • Flashbacks and intrusive thoughts – Vivid, distressing memories of the traumatic event often resurface involuntarily.
  • Nightmares – Repeated disturbing dreams related to the trauma, which can lead to sleep disturbances and emotional distress.
  • Emotional numbness – A sense of emotional detachment or feeling “numb” to the world, often as a defense mechanism to protect against overwhelming emotions.
  • Hyperarousal – An exaggerated startle response, increased irritability, and heightened anxiety. This state of hyperarousal can make it challenging to relax or feel safe.

Without treatment, these symptoms can progress into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific mental health condition that can develop in response to trauma. It is characterized by a cluster of anxiety-related symptoms that profoundly affect an individual’s life. These symptoms can persist for months or even years following the traumatic event.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD are:

  • Re-experiencing trauma symptoms – Individuals with PTSD often re-live the traumatic event through intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks. These experiences can be extremely distressing and can occur both during wakefulness and in dreams.
  • Avoidance and numbing of emotions – To cope with the emotional pain, many individuals with PTSD actively avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This avoidance can extend to thoughts, feelings, conversations, people, places, and activities. They may also experience emotional numbness, making it difficult to experience pleasure or positive emotions.
  • Hyperarousal and anxiety – Hyperarousal symptoms include heightened anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and a heightened startle response. Individuals may feel constantly on edge, as if danger is lurking around every corner even if no danger is present.
  • Cognitive issues and mood changes – Negative changes in thoughts and mood are also common in PTSD. This can include negative thoughts about oneself or others, feelings of guilt or blame, and a lingering sense of detachment from loved ones and the world.

About 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. If you or someone you love are struggling with PTSD, please contact our team at Moving Mountains Recovery to learn about our trauma & PTSD treatment program in New Jersey.

The Relationship Between Trauma, PTSD, and Addiction

Unfortunately, trauma and addiction are very closely related, and more than 46% of people with PTSD also struggle with substance abuse.

Trauma can create intense emotional suffering, making it difficult to find relief. As a result, individuals may resort to self-medication with substances as they provide a temporary escape from their emotional turmoil. This coping mechanism can lead to a cycle of addiction, where individuals use substances to manage their pain, only to face worsening mental health and addiction-related issues.

Effective treatment for trauma and addiction often involves an integrated approach that addresses both conditions simultaneously. At Moving Mountains Recovery, our dual diagnosis treatment program addresses mental health issues like PTSD and addiction at the same time.

How are Trauma and PTSD Treated?

The first step in treating trauma and PTSD is recognizing the need for professional help. It’s common for individuals to attempt to cope with their symptoms on their own, but doing so often leads to worsened conditions and delayed recovery. Seeking help from a trauma and PTSD treatment program is a crucial first step.

Trauma and PTSD are generally treated with a trauma-informed approach. Trauma-informed care recognizes the prevalence of trauma and seeks to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals seeking help. It involves understanding how trauma impacts individuals and integrating this knowledge into all aspects of treatment.

Some of the therapies that may be used to treat trauma and PTSD include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with trauma. Further, exposure therapy, a subtype of CBT, involves gradually confronting and processing traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps individuals learn to regulate their emotions, tolerate distress, and improve interpersonal relationships. It can be especially beneficial for those dealing with both trauma and addiction.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR is a specialized therapy that uses bilateral stimulation to help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce emotional distress.

Medication may also be used in conjunction with therapy to alleviate PTSD symptoms. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as anxiety and depression often associated with PTSD.

Additional aspects of treatment may include:

  • Support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Yoga and physical activity
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation

Our Client-Centered Approach to Trauma and PTSD Treatment in New Jersey

At Moving Mountains Recovery, our trauma and PTSD treatment program embraces a holistic, person-centered approach, aiming to improve all areas of clients’ lives. Combining individual therapy, group counseling, family support, adventure therapy, and access to medical and psychiatric support when needed, clients receive comprehensive support for their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, we aim to provide a supportive, trusting environment in which clients feel safe in discussing their traumatic experiences and deepest fears.

We tailor each of our trauma and PTSD treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each person. We recognize that trauma is a deeply personal, private challenge and are committed to treating it with the utmost compassion.

By focusing on the whole person rather than just the addiction, we’re able to help our clients manage their emotional trauma effectively and achieve a sober, fulfilling future.

Learn More About Our Trauma & PTSD Treatment Program in New Jersey

If you or a loved one are grappling with trauma and addiction, know that help is just a phone call away. To explore our PTSD treatment programs in New Jersey or to begin with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please reach out to us today.

References:

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: How Common is PTSD in Adults? Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp
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