Our therapists are expertly trained for trauma recovery in Utah. Trauma can be defined in many ways. What impacts one individual may not impact another individual similarly. Trauma involves anything from war or natural disasters to prolonged neglect, bullying and rejection. The experience may cause severe symptoms, interfering with an individual’s functioning and may cause shame-based beliefs related to lack of safety.
“The truth about childhood is stored up in our bodies and lives, in the depths of our souls. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings can be numbed and manipulated, our perceptions shamed and confused, our bodies tricked with medication, but our soul never forgets. And because we are one, one whole soul in one body, someday our body will present its bill.” This quote by Alice Miller speaks to the tendency for individuals struggling with trauma to attempt to avoid dealing with the feelings associated with the experience. Although this option seems less painful, it also tends to be unrealistic in that memories are not easily forgotten.
Prolonged trauma often causes chronic stress. This stress can be comparable to having a bear in front of you at all times. The body responds to such stress through fight (resisting), flight (attempts to avoid or numb emotions), and freeze (not doing anything, remaining stuck). This midbrain/limbic system is responsible for survival, avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Fight, flight and freeze responses suggest that avoidance to some degree becomes the main coping strategy in order to protect the self. Addiction tends to be a form of avoidance. Research shows that trauma impacts one’s ability to function on multiple levels and increases the risk of addiction. Trauma recovery is achievable.
The release of dopamine in the brain as a result of addiction is substantial. Here are a few interesting pieces of information from the Harvard Mental Health Letter:
As we look at treating addiction and trauma, human connection is paramount. Emotional expression and validation also cause the brain to release dopamine. Practicing empathy by taking on one’s perspective, is an effective way to connect.
“Experience has helped me accept as bedrock reality that at every stage of our life, we seek intimacy as urgently as we seek food and drink…this universal human need is so powerful that we are vulnerable to deception. Loneliness brings a desperation that makes us willing to see almost anyone as desirable, almost any situation and endurable, if it holds our promise of intimacy. Sadly there are many who would exploit those needs.” Victor L. Brown Jr.
Recovery from addiction and trauma is possible for those who are willing to address underlying core issues. The process begins with acknowledgement and awareness. Understanding one’s purpose and living out values daily tend to provide fulfillment and meaning.
“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” Victor Hugo
If you have experienced trauma in the past and it is affecting your ability to function, our trauma recovery experts would love to help you.