Many people are surprised when they hear that trauma recovery is a part of our treatment program. What they don’t realize is that trauma can play a huge role in both addiction and eating disorders (EDs). It is important to treat anything that can have an impact on these things, especially when it plays a key role.
Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are right up there with anxiety and depression when it comes to the large role they play on addiction and EDs. It is essential that they all get treated so that you have the best possible chance you can have at maintaining a sober and happy lifestyle after treatment.
The Role of Trauma Recovery
Trauma has a direct impact on both addiction and EDs. When you go through a traumatic situation you may not even realize how deeply affected you until you start getting symptoms. Symptoms of trauma and PTSD can include sleeplessness, anxiety, flashbacks, self-mutilation and food restriction, and substance abuse. It can also increase depression and make you withdraw from people and activities you used to enjoy.
It is important to remember that what is traumatic for one person may not have the same effect on another person, and vice versa. Traumatic situations can include rape, physical or mental abuse, the death of a family member, being a witness to a horrifying incident, natural disasters, and even divorce. Everyone handles things differently, so there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are suffering from trauma and need help.
In trauma recovery, we will work with you to identify the situation. Commonly, people who are suffering from trauma and PTSD have attempted to suppress their feelings for days, weeks, months, or even years. All that does is causes your emotions to eventually come to a head and boil over. This manifests in a few ways, two major ones being addiction and ED. With addiction, people who have a history of trauma use a substance to numb their pain. With EDs, they are self-mutilating as a way to feel better and in control. Both are harmful in many ways, and can even lead to death.
Once the traumatic situation has been identified, it needs to be processed. This means that you actually need to face it and talk about it. This is extremely difficult to do on your own, but in a treatment setting, it is done with the help and guidance of your doctors and therapists. You also will have a network of peers, many of whom have been through similar situations. You will be supported through the entire process.
Once you have faced your trauma, it is time to put it in the past. You may immediately feel a sense of relief once the event is out in the open. Many people feel like they can move past it once this happens. Being able to move past it means you won’t feel the need to mask your emotions with drugs or alcohol or continue to beat yourself up with an eating disorder.
Of course, trauma is only one part of treatment for addictions and EDs. It is only one part of a much bigger puzzle. However, once you learn that the past is the past and that you can leave it there, you’ll have a lot more freedom to focus on a healthy future. When trauma is treated, we focus back on your addiction and giving you the best possible chance at a strong, healthy, and sober future. Trauma recovery is just a small piece of the puzzle, but a vital one in helping you be addiction and eating disorder free for a lifetime.