After experiencing a dangerous or upsetting event, it’s natural to feel anxious, sad or in shock. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anger, irritability, depression and so many other symptoms that can appear after traumatic events, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men to develop it in their lifetimes. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that women who struggle with PTSD often experience troubles in their intimate relationships, sleeping disturbances, suicidal behaviors, loss of trust and more. Unfortunately, many survivors of trauma wait years to seek help – and that’s why trauma informed care is critical for women in addiction recovery.
When someone walks through the front doors for treatment, they come with a wide array of knowledge, experiences, thoughts, emotions and more. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies reports that one-quarter to three-quarters of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic events go on to report problematic alcohol use, and women exposed to traumatic events report a higher rate of increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Since PTSD may still be lingering when a person seeks treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s crucial for trained professionals to have a thorough understanding of trauma and what a client needs during these times. It can make a huge difference, such as:
- The difference between what one client needs over another
- Understanding when grief needs to take place
- Helping a client identify some of the underlying beliefs that developed from their traumatic experiences
- Coping mechanisms and ways of healing from traumatic events
For some women, substances have been the only way to seemingly “drown out” the pain experienced from PTSD. Symptoms of this disorder, along with stress and anxiety from other life situations, can make it hard to cope – especially when there are little resources to work with. Trauma informed care ensures that those in recovery are considered for all they’ve been through – through this, a person can receive the most personalized care possible.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.