Millions of people have experienced at least one trauma in their lives. In fact, it is reported that 70% of the adult population (or 223.4 million people) in the United States have experienced trauma. This number does not include the 26% of children that experience a traumatic event before the age of 4.
When trauma occurs, an individual’s brain changes. For example, the hippocampus of the brain, which is responsible for memory, takes the biggest brunt of the effects of trauma. When the hippocampus is impacted by trauma, it makes it difficult for individuals to properly handle anything environmental that slightly resembles the traumatic event(s) that they have endured. Additionally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, where emotions are regulated, also becomes negatively impacted, making it complicated for trauma survivors to handle upsetting emotions. While the hippocampus and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex are beginning to decrease in function in response to trauma, the amygdala also becomes altered, too. The amygdala is the part of the brain that allows individuals to process fear and other emotions. After a traumatic event, this part of the brain can become hyperactive, causing individuals to struggle with effects such as panic and anxiety.
Someone who has survived one or more traumatic events becomes affected to the point where it can be complicated to function in everyday life. Even with treatment, living life after trauma can be unpredictable, as one can never truly be sure if he or she will be retraumatized again.
It is for this very reason that trauma-informed care in Knoxville, Tennessee is applied to addiction treatment. It is extremely common for individuals with substance use disorders to have experienced multiple traumatic events in their lives, making it imperative for their treatment providers to not unintentionally retraumatize them while providing care. This can be done by practicing trauma-informed care.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care is an approach designed to recognize the needs of those who have experienced trauma. There is no way to determine if someone has been impacted by trauma when in an addiction treatment setting unless everyone on staff knows that individual’s personal history. Therefore, following the trauma-informed care approach allows staff to be aware of the impacts of trauma and operate in a manner that will not retraumatize the client.
Elements and Principles of Trauma-Informed Care
Those who are recovering from substance use disorders often have a number of hot-button topics that they are actively working on with their therapists. As a result, clients can be extremely raw from an emotional standpoint at any given moment. To help protect those individuals from further complications, trauma-informed care in Knoxville, Tennessee is enacted.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that there are four elements that define the trauma-informed care approach. They are as follows:
“A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understand potential paths for recovery
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved in the system
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization”
These four elements are universal and easily applicable within any type of setting where interaction with others occurs. Not only does SAMHSA’s elements help to educate people so that they can be aware of what symptoms of trauma can be, but they also help individuals adopt ways to prevent re-traumatization. Therefore, rather than operating with a blind eye to the needs of clients, businesses, organizations, companies, etc. can be knowledgeable as they work towards providing services for those who may be affected by trauma.
When combined with the four elements, the six key principles of a trauma-informed approach can make it so those working in addiction treatment centers can maintain a compassionate and educated approach to clients. These six key principles include the following:
- Trustworthiness and transparency
- Peer support
- Collaboration and mutuality
- Empowerment, voice, and choice
- Cultural, historical, and gender issues
These principles not only serve as a guide to trauma-informed care in Knoxville, but they also highlight the needs of those who have experienced trauma. For example, someone who has been a victim of domestic violence might be frequently concerned with his or her safety and struggle to put trust in others. Or, an individual who has been sexually assaulted might grapple with feeling empowered based on what has happened to them in the past, making it difficult to utilize their voice and their power of choice. However, when one’s treatment team practices these principles, they can make it so all clients who have been impacted by trauma can feel secure, supported, and encouraged to be their authentic selves.
The Importance of Trauma-Informed Care In Knoxville, TN
As previously mentioned, it is not uncommon for individuals who enter into addiction treatment to struggle with the effects of trauma. Several people have been impacted by traumatic events such as combat exposure, natural disaster, neglect, verbal abuse, the sudden loss of a loved one, and even a difficult divorce. When those people get treatment, they need to be provided with the utmost quality of care so that they are not alienated by their caregivers but instead, empowered by them to change their destructive behaviors. If a team of professionals is not actively practicing the trauma-informed approach, they can cause clients to feel threatened, fearful, and out of control. When this occurs, re-traumatization happens, making the situation worse for clients. However, applying this approach can do the exact opposite and help trauma survivors manage the effects of the events they have experienced in ways that help them build happy healthy lives.
Get The Help You Deserve At Our Knoxville Trauma-Informed Care Program
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder and the effects of trauma, do not let one more day go by without getting the help that you deserve. Living with the symptoms of these conditions can be very painful and even demoralizing to the point where you might not feel you are worth being helped. However, it is never too late to ask for help.
Call our trauma-informed care addiction treatment program in Knoxville, Tennessee us right now.