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Trauma-informed Treatment


In a significant number of substance use disorder cases, substance misuse is not the only concern affecting the individual. In fact, misusing drugs or alcohol is frequently an overlying symptom of a different mental health disorder — over time, substance use as a coping mechanism or self-medication turns into an addiction. A problem arises when patients seek treatment for their substance use but do not receive holistic care that also addresses their mental health. When the underlying mental health disorder goes untreated, relapse may occur and addiction can persist, despite repeated attempts at rehabilitation.

At Origins Behavioral HealthCare, we know that the best way to give our patients a chance at lifelong sobriety is to help them overcome not only their substance use but also any barriers that may exacerbate addiction. Through our many years of experience in treating our patients, we have found that, among other co-occurring mental health disorders, deeply rooted traumatic experiences or events are a common thread among men and women who are struggling to recover. To address these concerns, our highly trained staff provides specialized services for patients who have experienced trauma.

Every member of Origins’ team — from executives to clinical and medical to support staff — are educated about trauma and the importance of creating a trauma-informed treatment environment. 

Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma is a term that means something different to every person who experiences it. While there are particular types of incidents that might come to mind when you think of a traumatic experience, the reality is that trauma has more to do with an individual’s personal reaction than it does with the event itself. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has a category for Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders that discusses how exposure to different levels of stress or trauma can result in different symptoms. Anxiety, fear responses, socialization issues, relationship problems and more can arise as a result of experiencing or witnessing violence, abuse or disaster; the loss of a loved one; extreme stress or burnout; and physical illness or injury, among others.

The most well-known manifestation of trauma by far is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is frequently associated with military veterans who have experienced war violence, but PTSD can affect men, women, and even children who have been through other types of traumatic events as well. Domestic or sexual abuse, childhood neglect, severe accidents and injuries, and natural disasters or tragedies are all possible events that may lead to PTSD.

PTSD symptoms can be severe, even to the point of interfering with an individual’s ability to live a normal day-to-day life. Symptoms can include:

  • Withdrawal from others
  • Unwarranted anger or emotional outbursts
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Dissociative mental experiences or flashbacks
  • Inability to function in daily life
  • Panic or overreaction to events
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Involuntary thoughts about a traumatic event

PTSD symptoms may emerge as soon as a month after a traumatic experience, but they may also take many years to develop. Frequently (particularly in children), the event will be compartmentalized, stored deep in the psyche to avoid dealing with the upsetting reality of what occurred. As the memory of the event resurfaces, individuals may experience flashbacks or panic responses but be unable to recall the details fully. It can take months or even years of therapy work to help an individual regain control of their memory and their responses to related stimuli.

Since the symptoms of PTSD tend to emerge slowly, many people do not receive the treatment they need right away. Living with symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating, unpleasant, frustrating and even dangerous for the individual or those around them — undiagnosed PTSD makes life difficult every day. Many individuals turn to substances like drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism or as a means of self-medicating. The temporary relief from their symptoms can lead to continued drug or alcohol use which can later result in addiction. 

Treatment Modalities for PTSD

PTSD and other trauma and stress-related disorders require specialized therapies aimed at addressing trauma. These therapies help the individual reprocess the memories and reactions associated with the experience and help them develop healthier coping mechanisms. At Origins Behavioral HealthCare, our goal is to treat the underlying trauma while giving our patients the skills they need to live without relying on substances. 

In our Florida programs, our Center for Brain Recovery (CBR) specialists collaborate with each patient’s multidisciplinary treatment team to review the patient’s progress and identify any further psychological issues that may emerge during treatment — including PTSD or other related concerns. Our master’s level clinicians and licensed therapists also offer customized treatment plans that include trauma-related topics and exercises. Depending on each person’s unique case, treatment at Origins may include evidence-based interventions such as:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Biofeedback
  • Neurofeedback
  • Meditation and mindfulness training
  • Group process or individual therapy

These therapies are all proven effective for symptoms of PTSD, including anticipating triggers, de-escalating fear and anxiety responses, managing anger or mood swings, and processing traumatic memories. 

As a treatment center committed to helping our patients overcome addiction for good, we provide top-quality services to treat men and women at who are struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders. We are fully equipped to treat trauma and stress-related disorders including PTSD. Our multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals has specialty experience in trauma-informed treatment and in treatment for a variety of other mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.

Gender-Separate and Gender-Specific Treatment

Origins has long been a champion of gender-specific treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders, and we have remained on the leading edge of research and modalities. Our treatment for PTSD, trauma, and other similar disorders is always informed by the patient’s background — and this includes their gender and their experiences as a man or a woman. 

For example, women who are dealing with substance misuse have a 70% or higher incidence of experiencing PTSD in their lives, typically as a result of sexual or domestic abuse. Women are much more likely to have been the victims of trauma, abuse, or neglect than their male counterparts, and unfortunately, often struggle with these concerns as a result of the actions of a man in their life. Women who have been through these experiences seek refuge as well as recovery — which is precisely why we provide gender-specific treatment including women’s residential treatment with an all-female staff.

Alternatively, PTSD in men is frequently associated with military experience or violence. While servicewomen experience combat-related PTSD as well, some studies suggest that male veterans may be more likely to turn to substance use. It is essential to understand that men both process and express trauma differently than women; men are often expected to be “strong” and resilient, and may be less willing to admit to their trauma-related difficulties. At Origins, we provide men’s programming that includes approachable and engaging therapies to help our patients discover trust and emotional openness in a judgment-free environment.

Comprehensive Care You Can Trust

Origins programs have provided expert treatment for addiction and behavioral health concerns for over 30 years. We are proud to offer multiple levels of care, specialized age and gender-specific programs and access to top-quality healthcare professionals. If you, someone close to you, or your patient is ready to seek recovery from addiction or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, reach out to Origins today. Please feel free to call us anytime at 561-841-1296.