Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment Florida
Addiction happens for a variety of reasons. One thing that people who experience substance use disorder (SUD) often have in common is a history of trauma. Trauma or constant stress can precede the initiation of substance use and dependence suggesting a relationship between trauma, stress, and addiction.
This approach is a shift in the way addiction was viewed in the past and reduces stigma. It creates a blueprint for treatment that views substance use as a survival skill or coping mechanism for trauma rather than placing blame on the person living with addiction. Recognizing that many people have been through life-changing trauma and developing a treatment plan that recognizes the whole person and their experiences is called trauma-informed addiction treatment.
What is Trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, abuse, or a natural disaster. Trauma can also happen when you experience a divorce, job loss, or a host of other stressful situations. The natural human response when reacting to these events is to survive and attempt to go on with life. Both children and adults often don’t have the skills that they need to cope with trauma and instead develop survival skills that can be unhealthy and create ongoing challenges. This is called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and requires intervention ranging from short-term therapy to trauma-informed addiction treatment.
What is Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment?
Trauma-informed addiction treatment recognizes the need to understand your life experiences and how they have contributed to substance use and addiction. You are at the center of the decision-making and treatment process. This type of addiction treatment provides a safe environment for you to work through your past experiences and develop a positive structure in your life to support sobriety.
Trauma-informed care is based on 6 key principles: 
- Safety - All clients and staff feel physically and psychologically safe.
- Trustworthiness and transparency - Decisions are made with transparency with the goal of building and maintaining trust.
- Peer support - Individuals with shared experience are a part of the organization and the process.
- Collaboration and mutuality - Power differences between staff and clients are eliminated to create shared decision making.
- Empowerment, voice, and choice - Client strengths are recognized and developed, supported by a belief in resilience, and that you can heal from trauma.
- Cultural, historical, and gender issues - Biases and stereotypes, including historical trauma are recognized and addressed.
Trauma-informed care asks, “What happened to you?” rather than, “What’s wrong with you.” It acknowledges the need to understand a person's life experiences and not just current behaviors to provide effective care and treatment.
Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care
Unresolved trauma has been strongly linked to substance use, mental health conditions, and other risky behaviors. Trauma-informed addiction treatment recognizes this and understands that the expressed behaviors of coping are only the tip of the iceberg. Developing a trusting relationship with a provider trained in trauma-informed care will help you dig deeper. You will also develop healthy lifelong, strengths-based skills to overcome the impacts of trauma and addiction. Another benefit to trauma-informed care is that the staff and the organization will use practices designed to avoid re-traumatization. In other words, you will learn about how your trauma affects your brain and behaviors rather than reliving every detail of what happened in the first place.
Finding Trauma-Informed Addiction Treatment
Choosing to seek treatment is an important first step to living a fuller and healthier life free from addiction. But it is hard to know where to begin. Following are a few key things to look for in a trauma-informed addiction treatment program:
- Offers a wide range of effective treatment methods;
- Offers a variety of evidence-based therapies;
- Treatment is individualized for each person and includes trauma-informed approaches;
- Treatment includes a holistic focus on the whole person including mind, body, and spirit; and
- Helps you establish habits for a healthier life after addiction treatment.
One of the most important things to consider is that the location, environment, and rehabilitation activities are a good fit for you. Spring Gardens Recovery Florida is perfectly poised with a balance of therapies, professional experience, trauma-informed care, and holistic treatments to help you down the path to recovery and a more fulfilling life. Contact us today for more information or to get started.
Samantha Nettleton, CCTP, CMHIMP is the Chief Operating Officer and Clinical Director for Spring Gardens Recovery. After completing and receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Services (Concentrations in Mental Health & Addiction Counseling), she became licensed for the State of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor. She has also been a recovery coach since 2012. Samantha specializes in Trauma, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse, Process Addictions, and Other Mental Health Disorders.