Tag Archives: Trauma

Tag Archives: Trauma

Woman working through trauma in addiction recovery Peter Levine, a clinical psychologist, once stated:

“The paradox of trauma is that it has the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect.”

As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates, 61% of men and 51% of women report having had exposure to a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime. The aftermath of trauma leaves many with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder which can bring about debilitating symptoms like anxiety, depression, paranoia, insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares and more.

Several years ago, The Fix, a website that published information related to addiction recovery, sobriety and more, explained that even adverse childhood experiences can leave physical, psychological and spiritual wounds that can take an entire lifetime to recover from. Recovery from addiction is already a vulnerable time period, so how can a person heal from trauma, too?

Create a Support Network

Dr. Vincent Felitti, former chief of preventative medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, told The Fix,

“I would argue that the person using [drugs] is not using them to have a problem, they’re using drugs to find a solution.”

Social support is crucial before and after traumatic events, and some people feel isolated. This is when substance abuse can come into play – because a person is trying to find a way to lessen the intensity of emotions they’re experiencing. In recovery, healing can take place by doing the exact opposite: by reaching out to people, building connections and building their own sense of community. At Cumberland Heights, individuals can find support not only through their healthcare team and through peers in their group therapy sessions, but also through 12-Step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

In 2016, researchers published a study in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation that examined the role of social support in addiction recovery. They found that peer support groups – such as those found in 12-Step programs – can greatly strengthen a person’s commitment and engagement in their treatment. Individuals find healing through this modality for many reasons:

  • They find that many others have gone through similar experiences and/or emotions
  • They rely on the structure of the program to walk them through recovery
  • They develop empathy for other peoples’ hardships as life lessons and experiences are shared

One of the most common feelings that trauma brings to those struggled with PTSD is that a person is alone, and that nobody will understand. Quite the opposite is true – there are many people who’ve gone through traumatic events, and there are people who want to see you heal and become stronger.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care has been a buzzword lately, but for good reason. Self-care is defined as,

“…The actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development.”

The University of Notre Dame explains the many reactions that can come from trauma:

Psychological and Emotional

  • Feeling “numb”
  • Irritability, sadness, heightened anxiety, etc.
  • Feelings of “self-blame” that a person escaped the tragedy
  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  • Feelings of isolation from others
  • And more


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling confused


  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Easily startled
  • And more


  • Hyperactivity
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Insomnia
  • Strong need to talk about the event
  • And more

When a flood of PTSD symptoms come rushing through, it’s often hard to implement self-care. In recovery, however, this is a person’s chance to restore their mental, physical and spiritual health; self-care activities, such as practicing sleep hygiene, eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water and more can have a truly profound impact on the outlook of someone’s recovery, as it’s all interconnected.

Apply What You’ve Learned

Treatment provides a plethora of opportunities to not only connect with others, but to develop some meaningful perspectives and tools that can be used when needed. Symptoms of PTSD occur unexpectedly for many people, and, without warning, a person may easily feel taken over. Psychological approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) set the foundation for a person to be able to combat negative thoughts and beliefs with the reality. Here is an example:

Beth was in group therapy when she suddenly felt upset. She had been triggered by what someone said, and it reminded her of a traumatic event she experienced when she was a child. The minute that thought started bringing up physiological reactions, she took a deep breath.

“I can use what I learned in therapy,” she stated.

Rather than allowing the thought and emotion to take over, she reminded herself that she is safe. She told herself that she’s not in that moment, and that’s she’s much stronger now. She looked around her and noticed her peers talking. She grounded herself by planting her feet on the ground, and she reminded herself that one of her peers just shared their own personal story. That was it.

In moment like these, the tools learned in therapy can be of great benefit for healing from trauma, simply because they help us focus on what’s most important rather than what might bring us down. If you’re ready to heal from trauma and regain balance from addiction, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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.

Recognizing psychological issues that sabotage recoveryEven when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life happens. We’re caught off guard by a situation involving our family members, we begin ruminating, we’re having an “off” day – something happens and we find ourselves struggling to keep up again. Part of being human is working through the ups and downs, but this is much easier said than done sometimes. If we add mental illness to the mix, our recovery may seem even more complicated, with seemingly little control or ability to resolve the issue. The good news is, we do have some control over our despair – the first step is often identifying what’s been holding us back in the first place.

Whether we know it or not, human beings are vulnerable – and that means that sometimes, life affects us a lot more than we think it does. If we’re not careful, however, these impacts could sabotage our recovery, even if we’re unaware of it. Consider some of the following core issues that often hold many people back from healing:

  • Ruminating over the past
  • Worrying about the future
  • Self-blame, guilt and punishment
  • Trauma
  • Denial
  • Believing that you aren’t capable of recovering
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Feeling purposeless and empty
  • Mental illness symptoms
  • And more

Yale Medicine covered the story of a man recovering from mental illness. Despite everything that was holding him back – his symptoms, being misunderstood, being stigmatized and going through some very difficult life circumstances – he continued to push through. He had faith that he was on the right path and he remained positive. His doctor stated,

“[Bob’s] done astonishingly well. A lot of that has to do with his personal determination, his generally positive attitude and his ability to get people to help him because they like him. He has a wonderful, upbeat personality…that’s been a tremendous asset for him.”

No matter what life throws your way, stand your ground. Have faith and positivity that right now, at this very moment, you are right where you need to be. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and don’t give up.

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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Spirit2Spirit Trauma Certifications

Become a Certified Trauma Therapist® or a Certified Trauma Professional® through the landmark 5-module training course approved for graduate, undergraduate and continuing education credits. For more information on the certifications and module details, please head to the Spirit2Spirit website.

Module Dates, Times & Locations:

Mod 1 – February 21-25, 2019

Hosted by Capstone Treatment Center in Searcy, AR
Module One
An Introduction to Trauma & Treatment, Intervention Techniques, Definitions and Implications in Process Addictions, Experiential Activities, Intense Group Work and Processing Skills for Own Practice.

Mod 2 April 12-16, 2019

Hosted by Cumberland Heights in Nashville, TN
Module Two
Process Addiction Interventions, Learning to Facilitate Psychodrama & Breathwork and Effective Implementation of these Approaches into Therapy.

Mod 3 June 20-24, 2019

Hosted by High Watch Recovery in Kent, CT
Module Three
Focus on Experiential Modalities including Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy, as well as a continuation of Process Addictions ? Sex/Love Addiction, Gambling/Financial Addictions, Self-Harming Behaviors and Eating Disorders.

Mod 4 August 8-12, 2019

Hosted by TBA
Module Four
Internal Family Systems, Methods & Modalities for Treating Trauma, Cognitive Behavioral Approaches, Expressive Therapy and Other Pertinent Experiential Approaches Geared toward Affect Regulation.

Mod 5 November 7-11, 2019

Hosted by the Guest House Ocala in Ocala, FL
Module Five
Review of Previous Topics and Practicing Implementation of Learned Skills Successfully in One?s Own Practice, Review of Assessment Skills Identifying the Signs and Symptoms that Require Inpatient Treatment Referral.

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