Trauma and Addiction Treatment at Caron
Research shows that concurrent treatment of PTSD/trauma and addiction is most effective. That’s why Caron’s experienced trauma team develops integrated individualized treatment plans that meet each patient’s needs.
A trauma response can result from a difficult or horrifying experience that challenges an individual’s resources to cope. We process traumatic events in different ways. While one person may be able to return to a healthy life after a traumatic event, another person may find it hard or even impossible to carry on with daily life.
The person who has experienced trauma may feel powerless, hopeless, and constantly alert or anxious. The experience can leave the person feeling out of control or dehumanized. Childhood trauma or neglect can increase someone’s risk of experiencing trauma later in life and it leads to long-term effects for some.
The stress, guilt, shame, and other emotions that are part of a trauma response don’t necessarily cause addiction. However, they can result in increased drug and alcohol use, cause those already struggling with addiction to become more vulnerable to stressors and health issues, and present barriers to addiction recovery.
Treating Trauma and Addiction
The first step in treating trauma in the context of addiction is to identify it. At Caron, we look for signs of trauma responses or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a patient’s initial psychological assessment.
If a trauma response or PTSD is identified, the psychologists and the trauma team work closely with the patient to develop an individualized plan to integrate trauma and addiction treatment that will address their needs. This may include:
- Evidence-based treatments to address PTSD and trauma symptoms, which may include Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Specialty CBT groups to address anxiety, depression, and cravings
- Trauma-sensitive yoga
- Trauma-focused art therapy groups
Caron’s trauma program in Pennsylvania comprises three phases:
- Phase I: The safety phase – In the first four to six weeks of treatment, patients participate in psycho-educational groups that provide information about symptoms of trauma, how trauma affects the brain, developing safety and other trauma-focused topics.
- Phase II: Trauma-focused psychotherapy – A clinical psychologist or an addiction counselor provide a minimum of six to eight weeks of Cognitive Processing Therapy to treat PTSD symptoms. A 20-item self-report questionnaire that assesses the symptoms of PTSD, known as the PCL-5, is used to measure progress.
- Post-treatment - Caron’s trauma team provides aftercare recommendations to help individuals continue healing from trauma after leaving Caron.