Understanding Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy

Understanding Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy

Understanding Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy

Trauma comes in many different forms. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or race. If one does not fully recover from the traumatic event, the individual may be at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The effects of PTSD can be extremely uncomfortable. Many individuals attempt to self-medicate by misusing drugs or drinking alcohol to numb their emotions. Prolonged exposure trauma therapy with Restoration Recovery can help individuals work through traumatic events and disturbing memories in a safe space while being exposed to unwanted triggers. 

What Is Trauma?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma has been an ongoing mental health concern for years. Trauma’s negative impact on individuals, families, and communities typically requires intense treatment for a comfortable recovery process. Trauma can affect not only an individual but everyone who has been exposed to the traumatic event. Different types of trauma include: 

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Community violence
  • Natural disasters
  • Domestic violence
  • Medical injury
  • Traumatic grief
  • Refugee trauma
  • Terrorism and violence

What Are the Effects of PTSD?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) states that individuals who experience emotional disturbance after a traumatic event may be diagnosed with PTSD. An individual facing challenges with PTSD may experience psychological and physiological effects even when there is no current threat. Biological factors may also increase one’s risk of developing PTSD. The onset of symptoms may occur starting at approximately three months after experiencing trauma. Uncomfortable symptoms are different for everybody but may consist of: 

  • Having vivid night terrors
  • Experiencing disturbing flashbacks
  • Having distressing thoughts
  • Avoiding environments that bring back hurtful memories
  • Feeling on guard, tense, or on edge
  • Losing interest in past enjoyable activities

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

According to the journal Depression and Anxiety, there is a strong link between trauma and substance abuse. This is clinically called a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis can be defined as having problems with addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition. SUD and the development of a mental health disorder can manifest at any point in an individual’s lifetime. Dual diagnosis treatment can be a highly effective approach for those facing challenges with both conditions.

Recent research has found that teen trauma victims were up to three times more likely to come forward regarding their past or current challenges with addiction than those who did not have a history of trauma. In other words, more than 70% of individuals with a history of trauma received treatment for substance abuse. Based on a separate analysis, adults who have experienced a rough childhood had an increased risk of developing cocaine addiction. 

What Is the Value of Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy?

It can be difficult to navigate the intricacies of trauma alone. Prolonged exposure trauma therapy can be an effective therapeutic approach for an individual. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), prolonged exposure is a unique type of psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, used to treat PTSD. Prolonged exposure therapy is one of the various forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) used to help one alter their behavior and thought patterns.

Many individuals with PTSD suppress their emotions and avoid certain environments. This is a very unhealthy way to move forward from trauma. Prolonged exposure therapy has been clinically proven to help an individual gradually approach their negative symptoms that have been suppressed since being exposed to trauma. Once an individual learns the appropriate strategies used to confront unwanted triggers, their PTSD symptoms eventually decrease over time. 

Moving Forward With Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy at Restoration Recovery

Prolonged exposure therapy at Restoration Recovery can aid addiction and trauma recovery and what a client can expect during each session. Our mental health team believes that untreated trauma can increase an individual’s risk of developing an SUD. Witnessing a loved one experience a serious injury can be as harmful as personally experiencing trauma. Different areas of the brain can be significantly impacted, such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, surrendering to treatment for trauma is crucial for living an improved quality of life. 

Different types of trauma therapy are also effective treatments for overcoming trauma. These include: 

  • Cognitive processing trauma therapy 
  • EMDR trauma therapy

Restoration Recovery offers these trauma therapy services in combination with other behavioral therapies, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and the traditional CBT approach. This can be highly beneficial for individuals who are having problems coping with a dual diagnosis. It is imperative to continue to use the tools learned in therapy while in recovery to maintain long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Reaching out to family, friends, and professional support can also help address any concerns for a comfortable experience moving forward. 

The symptoms of PTSD can be extremely disturbing for an individual. Untreated trauma can affect many different aspects of one’s life. At Restoration Recovery, our California recovery center has a serene setting that has been proven to help clients achieve not just wellness but wholeness. Our mission is to help people struggling with substance use disorder, a mental health disorder, or dual diagnosis to achieve long-term sobriety by offering treatment options that heal the mind, body, and spirit. Research has found that trauma therapy with SUD treatment was effective at reducing the severity of one’s PTSD and substance use at five and seven months following disorder treatment. Call us at (888) 290-0925 to learn more.

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