Trauma is a deeply devastating, emotional response to a stressful or life-threatening event, such as an accident, natural disaster, violence or abuse. In most cases, however, trauma lasts long after an event has subsided. Traumatic experiences can cause an individual to have psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues for months and years after affliction.
When most people think of trauma, they think of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people think of their fathers who experienced war or their mothers who were victims of physical abuse. Today, most people don’t think of their daughters. We often do not think about the young women who carry instances of trauma closely, throughout their lives, without ever receiving the treatment they deserve.
If you or someone you love is battling drug addiction, there is a great likelihood that her drug use is deeply-rooted in a harrowing traumatic experience. She is not alone. Trauma is a nearly universal cause of drug abuse among women in the United States, with 55 to 99 percent of women in drug treatment reporting a history of trauma. The truth, this reality, is heartbreaking.
More than half of female addicts experience physical abuse at some time in their lives. About 72 percent experience emotional abuse. Nearly 75 percent of female drug users experience sexual abuse.
And particularly among female adolescents, those who abuse drugs are 18 to 21 times more likely to have been sexually abused than those without alcohol or drug problems. These young victims are often too afraid or unaware of how to seek help.
Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, can have a profound and lasting effect on women if left unaddressed. It impacts, in some shape or form, every area of human functioning —mind, body, behavior, social and spiritual well-being. The good news is that trauma is treatable.
As more research is being done surrounding women’s drug treatment, so has improved efforts towards an individualized, trauma-informed addiction treatment approach. Addressing trauma is now the expectation, the standard, among reputable treatment providers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, holistic trauma-informed care for women should address:
- Trustworthiness and transparency
- Peer support
- Collaboration and mutuality
- Empowerment, voice, and choice
- Cultural, historical, and gender issues
Addressing trauma in women’s addiction treatment means helping women address their own traumatic experiences. Even more, it means helping women understand just how that experience may have affected them emotionally, mentally, and physically. Allowing them to recognize this impact can help open the doors to the healing process.
Treating trauma alongside addiction can help a woman rediscover her best self. By addressing the deep-seated issues of the past, she can start a new future. She can regain her sense of self-value, her ability to trust others, to trust and love herself, and reduce the burden of self-blame.
As you begin your search for the right trauma-informed addiction treatment center, SAMHSA recommends you choose a facility that:
- Realizes the impact of trauma and understands a woman’s potential paths towards recovery
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma
- Responds to trauma by fully integrating a trauma-informed approach to policies, procedures, and practices
- Seeks to actively prevent and resist traumatization in the future
At the Turnbridge women’s treatment center in Connecticut, trauma-informed specialists work carefully to diagnose, address, and treat trauma in young women. Our relationship with a well-respected PTSD clinic allows us to offer the most extensive treatment options for women suffering from addiction and trauma. To learn more, call us at 877-581-1793.