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Trauma and PTSD

Trauma is caused by stressful life events that break your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless. Trauma can leave you overwhelmed with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that doesn’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb and disconnected from the outside world.


Trauma often involves a threat to one’s life or safety; however, any situation that makes one feel overwhelmed and isolated can cause impact, even if it does not result in physical harm. It is not the objective circumstances of an event that determine whether it is a traumatic event, but your subjective emotional experience of it that determines trauma. The more fear and helplessness you experience, the more likely you are to suffer a trauma.

Trauma may result from:

  • The effects of one-time events, such as an accident, injury, or violent attack, especially if it was unexpected or occurred in childhood.
  • Lifestyle factors, such as living through repeated natural disasters, fighting a life-threatening illness, or experiencing traumatic events, repeatedly occur, such as bullying, domestic violence, or a child being neglected.
  • Commonly overlooked causes include surgery (especially within the first 3 years of life), the sudden death of a relative, the end of a significant relationship, or an incident where someone was cruel.

Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders is a category within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) that discusses how different trauma exposure levels can result in various symptoms.

Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma survivors may experience recurring physical effects after traumatic events. For instance, it can manifest itself as insomnia. These events may trigger memories that cause changes in eating patterns or sleeping habits.

These symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Socialization issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Shock
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory loss
  • Extreme stress
  • Nightmares

Types of Trauma Treatment

Trauma treatment is part of every Origins program. Our treatment program is designed to assist those suffering from substance use disorders who have experienced a deeply distressing or disturbing experience as children or adults. Each patient is provided with an individualized treatment plan.

Trauma therapies include individual and group therapy and other evidence-based interventions, such as meditation training, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and biofeedback and neurofeedback.

During treatment, we can incorporate other clinical or therapeutic approaches to help resolve the issue. Our goal is to help our patients who have experienced trauma to be able to manage their responses to feelings of distress. Also, we teach them new skills to regulate their emotions and work with them on healthy ways to replace using alcohol or drugs when feelings of panic return.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that may result after a person experiences a traumatic event such as sexual or physical assault, natural disasters, or combat stress.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Recurrent episodes of unwanted, intrusive thoughts about a traumatic event.
  • Nightmares, distressing dreams, or “flashbacks”
  • Emotional responses to reminders of the trauma
  • Withdrawal from social circles and loved ones
  • Continuous hypervigilance for cues that could indicate an additional danger
  • Unwarranted anger
  • Negative changes in feelings and beliefs
  • Fluctuating mood, anxiety, or depression
  • Dissociative mental experiences
  • Inability to function day-to-day
  • Exaggerated reaction to events or panic
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Insomnia

PTSD is diagnosed when the symptoms last longer than three months, cause great distress, or disrupt a person’s work, social, or home life.

Co-occurring Addiction and PTSD

People who have PTSD often seek relief through the use of alcoholic beverages and drugs. It is estimated that half of all individuals in treatment for addiction also suffer simultaneously from PTSD.

Alcohol and drugs are not effective in managing PTSD and often aggravate existing symptoms.

Intoxication may also lead to trauma, such as if a person is involved in an accident or being the victim of physical violence or sexual abuse because drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s judgment and decision-making capabilities. The misuse of substances may lead to the onset or aggravate an existing condition of PTSD.

PTSD, Gender Issues, and Treatment

When an individual is experiencing PTSD and addiction, their treatment should include trauma-informed evidence-based curriculums that are tailored to meet their individual needs, including programming that attends to gender issues while also treating co-occurring disorders.

PTSD Treatment Modalities

Trauma-related disorders such as PTSD and others require specialized therapies designed to address traumatizing experiences. These therapies are designed to help a person reprocess memories and the associated reactions that follow the experience and help them develop healthier coping mechanisms. Origins Behavioral HealthCare’s goal is to treat the underlying trauma while empowering patients with the skills needed to lead an independent life without relying on substances.

At our Center for Brain Recovery (CBR) in Florida, specialists work with each patient’s multi-disciplinary treatment team to review the patient’s progress and identify any upcoming psychological difficulties. This might include PTSD or any other concern. Our licensed therapists and master’s-level clinicians offer custom treatment plans, including trauma-related topics and exercises. Based on the unique circumstances of each individual, Origins may offer evidence-based treatments such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Neurofeedback
  • Biofeedback
  • Mindfulness training and meditation
  • Individual therapy or group therapy

These therapies have been proven to be effective for PTSD symptoms, including anticipating triggers, reducing anxiety and fear responses, managing mood swings and anger, and processing traumatic memories.

We are committed to helping our patients overcome addiction while offering high-quality services to both men and women who struggle with co-occurring mental disorders. We are fully equipped to treat trauma and stress-related disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals has extensive experience in trauma-informed treatment and a variety of other mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.