Treating Early Childhood Trauma During Adult Rehabilitation

Treating Early Childhood Trauma During Adult Rehabilitation

Early childhood trauma can profoundly affect a person’s ability to cope with substance use disorder (SUD). In addition, co-occurring mental health issues related to trauma can significantly impact recovery. According to Depression and Anxiety, “Ample evidence has shown that childhood trauma compromises neural structure and function, rendering an individual susceptible to later cognitive deficits and psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, [post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)], and substance abuse.” Newport Beach Recovery Center empowers clients to overcome trauma related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) using evidence-based treatments

The Connection Between Early Childhood Trauma and Substance Abuse 

Early childhood trauma is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of possible ACEs, including: 

  • Sexual abuse or exploitation
  • Witnessing domestic abuse or other traumatic events
  • Physical, emotional, or verbal abuse 
  • Not having access to necessities like consistent housing, clothing, and food
  • Physical or emotional neglect 
  • Witnessing or experiencing emotionally distressing events like the death of a loved one or a natural disaster
  • Chronic stress 
  • Racism
  • Bullying or harassment by peers 
  • Living in a war zone or area of high conflict 

The brain continues to develop until the mid-20s. Early childhood experiences have a significant impact on the development and structure of the brain. When a person’s gone through a significant number of ACEs, the prolonged stress caused by those experiences can trigger SUD.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Co-occurring Disorders

According to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, “Childhood traumas, particularly those that are interpersonal, intentional, and chronic are associated with greater rates of” the following: 

  • PTSD
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Antisocial behaviors 

All of these conditions can make treating SUD more complicated and difficult. They involve treatment for multiple disorders at once.

Early Childhood Trauma Can Restructure the Brain 

Children who witness or live through traumatic events may experience structural changes in some regions of the brain, including: 

  • Hippocampus
  • Amygdala 
  • Corpus callosum
  • Cerebellum 

Children are incredibly resilient. If they get early treatment, it may not have a lasting effect. However, adults who struggle with untreated trauma-related issues may require more in-depth mental health treatment. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses individual and group therapy to help clients address substance abuse and underlying issues like trauma. 

Trauma-Focused Therapy and Treatment Options 

Adults struggling with the effects of untreated childhood trauma often benefit from trauma therapy. Many programs use a combination of therapy, peer support, and prescription medication to manage symptoms like panic, depression, and anxiety. During rehabilitation, a person needs to address any underlying trauma that may have contributed to the development of their SUD. Accepting, processing, and reintegrating those memories and events increases the effectiveness of treatment. 

Some therapy options for individuals with PTSD and other trauma-related disorders include: 

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Exposure therapy (ET)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) 
  • Alternative holistic therapies 

Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of trauma treatment, and many people make significant progress through talk therapy alone. However, using psychotherapy alongside EMDR or other techniques can significantly speed up the healing process during rehabilitation. 

What Impacts Trauma Symptoms

The symptoms of early childhood trauma vary in type and severity depending on a wide range of factors, including: 

  • Type of trauma 
  • Family mental health history 
  • If the trauma was previously treated or left untreated 
  • How many instances of trauma 

Trauma symptoms often overlap with SUD and can contribute to the development of substance abuse. Every case is unique, and personalized trauma-informed care usually ensures the best possible outcome. 

Managing Symptoms of Early Childhood Trauma

Some common symptoms of childhood trauma include: 

  • Unhealthy attachment styles 
  • Underdeveloped social and communication skills 
  • Difficulty trusting others, especially authority figures 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Panic 
  • Self-harm or suicidal ideation
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Changes to appetite and eating patterns 
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships 

Coping skills like mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and relying on a support system can reduce the severity of symptoms. Talk therapy is one of the most valuable tools for healing from trauma. Newport Beach Recovery Center offers trauma therapy for every client. We believe, in most cases, SUD develops due to the presence of trauma.  

Healing and Thriving

Overcoming issues related to ACEs requires patience and a determination to change. However, a person can successfully heal and thrive during recovery. Rehabilitation in a dual diagnosis system allows them to reprocess trauma in a safe and structured environment with a reduced risk of relapse. 

Most people make major life changes after attending treatment. In addition to no longer abusing substances, they often do the following: 

  • Cut off toxic relationships with individuals related to past substance abuse
  • Set clear boundaries at work, school, and home to ensure positive mental health 
  • Change eating, exercise, and sleep patterns 
  • Repair relationships with loved ones 
  • Find new hobbies and activities to replace the time previously spent misusing substances 

Accepting the current circumstances and finding healthy solutions for improving your lifestyle will help you thrive during recovery. Decisions an individual makes during treatment and aftercare can impact how quickly they learn to manage trauma-related challenges. The Newport Beach Recovery Center care team provides each client with a comprehensive aftercare plan to guide them through these essential changes. People can build a happier, healthier future for themselves and their loved ones. 

Early childhood trauma can play a significant role in the development of substance use and mental health disorders. Untreated childhood trauma can affect how adults think about themselves and interact with people around them. Treatment for trauma-related issues usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and prescription medication. Childhood traumas impact development, and many clients in treatment for SUD require simultaneous trauma therapy and essential life skills education to address these issues. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses evidence-based methods to treat trauma. Our care team collaborates with clients to ensure they feel supported and have the tools they need to heal. Find out more about our programs by calling us today at (888) 850-0363.

How to Talk To Young Children About Addiction Rehabilitation

How Should You Discuss Rehabilitation and Addiction With Young Children?

Substance use disorder (SUD) will affect every member of a family unit. Adolescents and young adults will notice their parent’s behaviors and make assumptions about the underlying cause. During recovery, parents need to explain the situation to young children so that it does not cause them to internalize negative thoughts or beliefs about themselves. The child might feel at fault and blame themselves for your pain even when they do not entirely comprehend what is happening. Young children may not have the ability to fully understand the situation unless someone explains it to them using clear and easy-to-follow language.

Discussing treatment and recovery before leaving them to attend a rehabilitation program usually decreases separation anxiety and stress. Newport Beach Recovery Center can help you find the right way to discuss substance misuse and treatment with your children.

How Does Substance Misuse Affect Young Children?

Substance misuse of any kind will affect your child. Everything you do either affects them directly or plays a role in shaping their physical environment and home-life experience. You may feel like keeping your family and substance misuse separate will spare your loved ones from pain. However, there is no way to separate the two truly. Your SUD will affect them, and you are responsible for minimizing and repairing any cognitive or emotional damage.

Substance misuse can affect young children in the following ways:

  • Increase their risk of developing behavioral, cognitive, mental health, or substance use issues
  • Increase their risk of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event
  • Increase their risk of being neglected or abused
  • Decrease their capacity to cope with stress
  • Reduce their self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Increase the risk of self-harming behaviors

You can protect your child by being honest with them and consulting with mental health professionals specializing in treating adolescents and young adults. In addition, some children might benefit from attending some individual counseling or therapy.

What Are the Benefits of Open and Honest Discussions About Treatment?

Treatment comes with emotional highs and lows. In addition, your physical health will fluctuate rapidly for a short period during detox and withdrawal. If your children communicate with you during that time, the changes might shock and confuse them unless you honestly and openly discuss the situation.

Talking to your child about treatment and substance misuse does not mean going into detail about aspects that will not directly affect them. Instead, discuss things they will see during ongoing recovery to ensure they understand that you love them and that they are not at fault. Talk with your therapist to determine the best topics to cover during these discussions and how to phrase them.

A few things you can communicate include:

  • They are not to blame for any mood swings or other symptoms, including unusual irritation or depression
  • You are spending time in treatment because you love them and want to be a better parent
  • You might be avoiding certain people, places, or activities because they trigger cravings, stress, or depression, not because you are punishing the child

Children often internalize negative beliefs based on assumptions about the world around them. You can protect them from developing irrational thoughts and maladaptive behaviors by being honest in a responsible way. You can help your child understand the situation by using age-appropriate resources, including:

  • Educational classes or therapy sessions
  • Family and individual therapy
  • Metaphors to help them understand the situation
  • Support groups for children of individuals with SUD

What Should You Tell Your Child?

Discussing your condition and the realities of recovery with young children can be difficult for many parents. You may want to protect them from the pain, confusion, and stress of knowing what is happening to you. However, children are highly observant and will know that something is wrong. If you do not explain it to them, they may jump to conclusions about what is wrong with you and why you have tried to hide it from them. The way that you share the information with them will have a profound effect on your child’s growth and sense of self-worth. How you discuss SUD and treatment with your child will depend on several factors, including:

  • Their age
  • Your current health
  • The type of treatment
  • Family dynamics

Speaking with your therapist or a member of your support system can help you determine what details to share with your child. Some young children cannot fully understand the situation, and consequently, it might not affect them as much. However, teenagers and young adults can be profoundly affected by the knowledge that their parents engaged in substance misuse and are pursuing treatment.

Being a parent is not easy, and finding ways to discuss substance use disorder and the treatment process with adolescence is an impossible task. You do not want them to think less of you, worry about you, or misunderstand what you tell them. However, avoiding these conversations will only harm your child and increase their risk of developing mental health or substance misuse issues in adulthood. The best way to protect them is by having honest and open discussions about your circumstances and how they might affect the home environment and family dynamics. Clients at Newport Beach Recovery Center have access to family resources and services, including family therapy and your therapy. Your child will benefit from being educated on relevant aspects of addiction. To learn more about how we can help you and your children navigate recovery, reach out today by calling us at (888) 850-0363.

How Can You Avoid Retraumatization During Treatment?

How Can You Avoid Re-Traumatization During Treatment?

The Newport Beach Recovery Center team uses a trauma-informed approach that lowers the risk of re-traumatization for individuals recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). Our team can provide excellent personalized care for individuals with co-occurring trauma-related mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or generalized anxiety disorder. According to Clinical Psychology, “Among individuals with PTSD, nearly half (46.4%) also met criteria for a SUD and more than one-in-five (22.3%) met criteria for substance dependence.” We understand that trauma and substance misuse often negatively interact and cause increased side effects or symptoms.

What Is Trauma-Informed Care?

The trauma-informed care includes various services that make our facility more comfortable and secure. According to the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW), professionals trained to provide trauma-informed care have the ability “to better understand services through the eyes of their clients; uncovered inadvertent trauma triggers; and generated concrete changes necessary to become a more trauma-informed system.” At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we treat all our clients with compassion and respect. Our care team considers each client’s preferences when creating therapy sessions.

Trauma-informed care applies to the following:

  • Treatment and aftercare planning
  • Peer interactions
  • Policies and procedures
  • Facility accommodations
  • Interactions between the client and care team

Why Does Newport Beach Recovery Center Use Trauma-Informed Care?

We use trauma-informed care to make our facility more inviting and safe for individuals who have experienced trauma. We believe that most people who attend treatment centers for SUD have experienced some form of trauma they would benefit from working through in therapy. Past traumas common among individuals with SUD include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse and domestic violence
  • Trauma-related to war or terrorism
  • Witnessing or surviving a natural disaster
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing or experiencing a severe accident, illness, or injury
  • Human trafficking
  • Workplace harassment
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics, including family members with untreated SUD
  • Experiencing or witnessing an overdose

The evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies we offer can help you heal from trauma and relieve symptoms like anxiety, panic, self-harming ideations, or depression.

How Can Trauma Responses Impact Recovery?

Trauma responses can increase stress and make you feel less safe. Triggers are different for everyone, which means that a specific setting or group might feel comfortable for one person and threatening to someone else. The most common types of trauma responses people encounter during treatment include:

  • Being easily startled and jumpy around unexpected noises or movements
  • Feeling disconnected from others or dissociating
  • Experiencing flashbacks or intrusive thoughts and sensations
  • Specific phobias

The care team and support staff at Newport Beach Recovery Center use trauma-informed personalized care to ensure you have the best experience possible. Our team will work to avoid potential triggers and create a safe space for healing and personal growth.

What Is Re-Traumatization?

Re-traumatization occurs when someone encounters a trigger that sets off trauma responses, including distressing thoughts, feelings, or flashbacks. For example, individuals in recovery can experience re-traumatization if they hear, see, smell, taste, or feel something that reminds them strongly of a traumatic event.

The side effects of re-traumatization include:

  • Reduced sense of self-worth and self-efficacy
  • Increased stress and more severe symptoms
  • Difficulty trusting others

The goal of therapy is to address current and underlying issues that contribute to substance misuse and may increase the risk of relapse. We attempt to avoid triggers except in cases where the client is in a controlled environment with active support to help them learn how to rewrite the trauma responses. Experiential and exposure therapies can provide significant relief from trauma and allow clients to reprocess distressing memories, making them less disruptive over time.

How Can Trauma-Informed Care Decrease the Risk of Re-Traumatization?

The Newport Beach Recovery Center care team can help you avoid re-traumatization by providing tools for coping with stressors, preventative strategies to avoid or overcome triggers, and a healthy structure of social support. You will never have to face these moments alone during treatment until you reach a place where you feel confident in your ability to cope with them.

Trauma-informed care can prevent relapse by doing the following:

  • Providing you with a space where you feel heard, respected, and understood
  • Giving you exposure to positive social interactions that reduce stress
  • Allowing you to build deep and trusting relationships
  • Exposing you to various triggers in a controlled environment

Overcoming long-term trauma is a process; most people need months or years of therapy to move forward with their lives successfully. At our facility, we use short-term methods that provide long-term positive results. For example, experiential therapy and other treatments can help you rewire how your brain stores and responds to traumatic memories. As a result, you can heal from the effects of trauma and SUD.

The Newport Beach Recovery Center care team actively listens to people to ensure they can access the accommodations and resources they need to feel safe and secure during treatment. Many people with substance use disorder have a history of experiencing or witnessing trauma. You can avoid re-traumatization by collaborating closely with your care team to ensure they have all the necessary information to create a tailored treatment plan. Most people benefit from treatments focusing on the underlying cause of trauma and stress. Once you know how to identify potential triggers, you can find ways to avoid or cope with your symptoms. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses evidence-based therapeutic methods to ensure you feel safe and secure during the rehabilitation program. To learn more about the therapies offered at our facility or to set up an appointment, call our office today at (888) 850-0363