Finding Trauma Care in the Boulder State
Traumatic events can change people’s lives. Addiction and trauma can go hand in hand, so it’s not uncommon to see people suffering from both issues concurrently. Many people believe that PTSD only refers to specific events, such as military action, but it can come from several sources.
Events that may seem innocent could carry with them long-term traumatic fallout. PTSD could linger for years, and many people might not even know they have it. PTSD leads to several problems in the long run, such as a lack of ability to participate in society. Many sufferers of traumatic disorders turn to addictive substances to relieve their frustration with the world around them. Unfortunately, the result is a lot of people who suffer from both PTSD and substance use disorder.
What Is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may stem from a life-threatening event. It may also come from lasting psychological trauma such as physical abuse. PTSD shows up in various ways, from nightmares to an inability to function in close quarters to someone else. Because of the unexpected nature of PTSD, sufferers are never sure what may lead to an episode. Over time, they can spot events and people that might lead to triggers and seek to avoid them.
Unfortunately, that leaves them at a disadvantage in places of employment. As a result, employers are not too keen on hiring individuals who have PTSD. Their business usually needs employees that can’t afford to have issues with triggers. If they even hire workers with PTSD, they are generally assigned to undesirable jobs.
Studies indicate that long-term trauma may be more likely to lead to PTSD. Reinforcement from long-term trauma can drive a person to depression alongside their anxiety, compounding the feelings of pressure and suffocation. When they are no longer in the situation, the feelings remain, leaving them with flashbacks or episodes where they shut down completely. For individuals who have to deal with this, PTSD can be tough to cope with in the real world.
What Is Trauma Treatment?
Trauma treatment seeks to help people overcome their PTSD in a healthy and wholesome way. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for trauma. As an individual problem, it requires a solution that targets the issues each person who deals with it must face. Among the hallmarks of a good PTSD treatment regime are:
- Flexible: Some patients heal differently from others. A flexible treatment plan allows patients to deal with things independently.
- Smaller Client-to-Staff Ratios: Trauma healing requires personal attention much of the time. Therapy is best with one-on-one sessions, but small groups can also help.
- A Solid Community: Recovery from PTSD relies on both the individual and the people around them. A solid community is critical to long-term trauma recovery.
Both psychotherapy and medication play a part in treating PTSD. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication help ease some of the short-term symptoms of the disorder. Another method of treatment that helps is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of therapy offers a way for those suffering from trauma to have some agency in their triggers. By figuring out what leads to PTSD episodes, they can spot those triggers early. The understanding is that managing the thoughts behind these triggers can influence the outcome.
Treatment can be either inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient treatment tends to be more costly but has better results than outpatient treatment. In the most acute cases, inpatient treatment is the most effective way of helping someone cope with their trauma. Unfortunately, inpatient treatment can be expensive. Luckily, in most cases, health insurance will cover the cost of treatment. Mental healthcare falls under required coverage, but each insurance provider may have stipulations for paying for care. Contacting the facility will give you a better idea of how much of the cost the insurance will cover.
How Does Trauma Change the Brain?
Usually, the human body has a very sophisticated endocrine system, part of which is the “flight-or-fight” response. In stressful situations, humans make up their minds whether they will face the problem head-on or try to escape and deal with it some other way. The response comes from the brain firing off hormones like norepinephrine and adrenaline, giving the body an extra burst of strength or focus on achieving a goal. Your brain is focused on that one goal and shuts down all other processing. Your short-term memory freezes, and your body only responds to this reflex.
With PTSD, a person is always in this fight-or-flight mode. Years of conditioning through constant trauma has convinced their brain that they must always be ready for this situation. The downside is that everything else, from processing to remembering things, gets locked down while the brain is in this mode. Individuals with PTSD can’t deactivate their reflexes and are left trying to deal with the world around them without the ability to make profound cognitive decisions. Over time, this constant state of readiness changes the brain irreparably. Seeking treatment early is the best option to avoid having this happen to you.
Self-Medicating and Trauma Treatment
Trauma can sometimes lead a person to use alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate. Alcohol is a depressant and may be one way a person with PTSD might seek to control the runaway fight-or-flight response. Over time, alcohol use will turn into dependence and addiction, adding another layer to the person’s problems. Benzodiazepines may also offer some relief from the constant feeling of being in a high-stress situation. These drugs trigger a dopamine flood in the brain, leading to the brain tissue changing its structure to deal with the influx of new chemicals.
Over time, this use of drugs as a medium of self-medication inevitably leads to addiction. Alcohol and drugs create dependency by restructuring the brain. After a little while, the person cannot live without the drug in their bloodstream. They pursue the substance and make bad choices to find more of the drug. Addiction is one of the problems associated with PTSD, and many times, treating the addiction means treating both disorders together. Without this holistic approach, the recovering person might likely have a relapse into addiction triggered by their lingering PTSD.
What are the Typical Features Of Trauma Treatment In Colorado?
The majority of Colorado trauma treatment centers are outpatient facilities. There are also a few residential treatment centers that focus on inpatient treatment. Treatment centers focus on giving patients the tools to cope with their condition and overcome the drug’s control over their lives.
Therapy in both types of treatment centers incorporates both group and individual therapy. in addition to CBT, there are also several other methods of treatment that you might find in trauma treatment centers in Colorado, including:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Peer Support Groups
- Group Therapy
- Mindfulness Learning
These different therapy and treatment types allow a recovering person to have perspective and find the kind that works best for them. Trauma is different in every case, and each one requires individual approaches for success. In many cases, individuals who have PTSD don’t even know they have it. This disconnect can lead to a person suffering from the issue for a long time before seeking professional help.
Finding Dual Diagnosis Programs Near Denver
Dual diagnosis happens when a person has a mental health disorder combined with a substance use disorder. These disorders combine to make a complex situation that requires both of them to be dealt with for the person to recover. Dual diagnosis is the idea that each of these disorders needs to be dealt with together.
Luckily, therapy such as CBT works in a way that helps a person deal with the triggers from both of these issues. As mentioned before, self-medication can lead to a person compounding their PTSD with a substance use disorder. When this occurs, the best way to deal with the situation is through a dual diagnosis treatment.
Dual diagnosis treatment in Denver isn’t impossible to find. Many of the facilities that offer traditional treatment for addiction recovery may also provide dual diagnosis treatment. After detoxing from the substance, a patient may enter either residential or outpatient treatment in many cases.
In Colorado, most treatment centers for dual diagnosis opt for inpatient since it’s easier to control the negative stimuli that a person may face. Dealing with mental health problems and a substance use disorder isn’t impossible with a recovery center’s proper support and understanding.
Lasting Trauma Recovery Is Possible at Pathfinders
Pathfinders Recovery focuses on offering clients the best experience possible in their journey to sobriety. We’ve dealt with PTSD patients, and our staff has a lot of experience with dual diagnosis treatments.
Our therapy treatment can help someone who has PTSD cope with the constant feeling of being overwhelmed that the condition brings with it. If you are dealing with PTSD, alongside a substance use disorder, or need trauma treatment in Colorado, give us a call. We’d be more than happy to help you overcome both of these issues.