Do you have a sneaking suspicion that a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol? Are you wondering how to talk to them about going to rehab? If you want to know more about the tools for treating addiction, it is worth knowing more about using somatic therapy for addiction recovery.

There are more than 20 million people in the United States who battle with an addiction, but how many addicts never seek treatment?

If you suspect that your loved one has an addiction, you may feel worried or helpless. The good news is that there is a wide range of effective therapies available.

In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of somatic therapy, an innovative approach to addiction. We’ll also help you find local rehab options for yourself or a loved one.

Common Signs of Addiction

Contrary to popular belief, not all alcoholics or drug addicts are living on the street. Millions of people with addictions go to work regularly, live a relatively normal life, and are considered “functional addicts.”

Although they do attend work, functional addicts cost American businesses more than $700 billion each year. People with an addiction are more likely to commit theft, call in sick to work, and have fatal accidents on the job.

So what are the signs of addiction? You might notice a change in your loved one’s appearance.

Extreme weight loss is a common sign of addiction to heroin, prescription medication, and opioids.

If you think that your spouse has an addiction, check your bank account. Is there money missing or suspicious ATM withdrawals?

Addiction thrives in secrecy and isolation. Many addicts have wild mood swings, a tendency to lie, and an unwillingness to get treatment.

What is Somatic Therapy?

Once your loved one agrees to get treatment for their addiction, they’ll have access to medication-assisted withdrawal and several options for therapy.

Somatic therapy helps people deal with traumatic past experiences that still influence their lives. People in recovery often talk about “triggers,” events that give them the urge to use drugs or alcohol.

For an alcoholic in recovery, a trigger could be driving past a bar they used to go to. It could be running into an old drinking buddy, or it could be walking past beer and alcohol in a store.

Triggers are the number one enemy of someone who’s in recovery. People who can conquer their triggers stand a much better chance of avoiding relapse.

In general, people who stay sober for one year have a 50 percent chance of relapse. If they stay sober for five years or more, their chances of relapse drop to 15 percent.

Somatic therapy uses meditation techniques, coupled with talk therapy, to help recovering addicts develop control over their unconscious triggers.

Signs of Unconscious Trauma

Somatic treatment allows people to confront the traumas of their past. In a safe office environment, people in recovery can share the events that led them to their addictions.

Somatic therapy focuses on relaxing the mind and facing past events. Therapists guide their clients to accept the emotional damage that their addiction has caused, but it’s not a blame game.

There are two kinds of trauma that somatic therapy helps to address.

Childhood Trauma

We may not realize it, but our childhoods heavily influence our adult behavior. Did you or a loved one grow up with a parent who drank heavily or used drugs?

Was there verbal or physical abuse in the home?

Other types of childhood trauma could include moving to a new school, losing a grandparent or other family member, and having trouble with siblings.

People with addictions may have turned to substance abuse to deal with emotions that they couldn’t express or traumas that they couldn’t understand.

While not every person had a traumatic childhood, it’s still a common theme among recovering addicts.

Event-Based Trauma

The other type of trauma is called “shock trauma.” That’s trauma that emerged from a dramatic, unexpected life event.

Shock trauma could include losing a job, losing a relationship, or suffering from theft.

It could also refer to long-term financial problems, loss of family or friends, and having a mental breakdown.

Surprisingly, almost 8 million people with addictions also have a mental illness. When your loved one enters rehab, they will be assessed to see if they have depression, anxiety, bipolar, or schizophrenia.

Somatic experiencing helps people confront past traumas a little bit at a time, dealing with traumatic life events without re-traumatizing the patient.

Key Terms in Somatic Therapy

What should you expect from somatic therapy? It’s not a quick fix, but a long-term support to your loved one’s recovery.

A somatic therapy session looks a lot like a regular talk therapy session. The person with the addiction sits and talks with a certified therapist, gently exploring their triggers and traumas.

Here are a few key terms you should know about somatic therapy.


You may have heard that there’s an easy way to make a two-liter of soda explode into the air. Just add a package of mints and the soda will fly sky-high.

Titration is the exact opposite of that dramatic reaction. It means that you don’t deal with past trauma all at once. You deal with it slowly but surely, overcoming your fears and emotional responses.

If you go too quickly with therapy, you risk traumatizing the patient. The effects of shock trauma can linger for years, deepening over time.

Somatic therapy can also help patients unearth memories from their childhood, events that affected them that they might not remember.

Like a splinter that gets pushed deeper over time, long-term trauma isn’t simple to remove. People who can lean in to therapy and stay the course have a better chance of long-term recovery.


In general, therapy should be a safe place to express your ideas and feelings. When you’re talking about deep-rooted trauma, your therapist should always help you come back to the present moment.

Resourcing means being strong in your recovery and adhering to your long-term goals. It means overcoming your “fight or flight” reflex and expanding your resources, the people or things that make you feel safe.

The recovery process is different for every person. When your loved one goes into a rehab facility, they will undergo an assessment by qualified medical personnel.

They may be offered medication to detox, and they will probably get individualized therapy. If you can be a resource for your loved one, you may be able to help them in their recovery goals.


Pendulation refers to the back and forth yo-yo feeling that people get when they’re healing trauma. They might cry dramatically, feel pain in part of their bodies, or just have a deep sigh.

Other days, they may not have an emotional response to trauma. It doesn’t mean they don’t care, just that their rational minds are taking over for a while.

Everyone’s response to trauma work will be different, as will their time frames for healing. It could take weeks or months to see the benefit from somatic therapy.

That’s where you come in: to support your loved one and make sure they don’t give up on themselves before they deal with their traumatic issues.

Benefits of Somatic Experiencing

Somatic experiencing has been used to treat a wide range of physical and mental issues. It’s good for people who have PTSD, chronic pain, and drug addictions.

The therapeutic process helps people with addictions deal with their triggers and stay stable in long-term recovery. It can also enhance feelings of well-being, peace, and comfort.

People who undertake somatic therapy include weight loss, a decrease in chronic pain, and the ability to have healthier relationships.

The thing about being in recovery is it’s hard to avoid some triggers. If driving past a bar triggers your loved one to drink, there may not be an alternate route to work.

If there are certain people that trigger your loved one to use drugs, it can be difficult to find new friends.

As your loved one starts to heal from their addiction, they may also incur the trauma of losing close-yet-unhealthy relationships.

Somatic therapy can help them learn a healthier approach to their everyday lives, and give them the skills to pilot their ship toward a brighter future.

How to Find a Local Rehab Facility

The first step in finding a rehab facility is to get referrals from medical professionals. If your loved one is already going to a doctor or nurse practitioner, you can ask them where they would recommend for treatment.

Check and see if the rehab center can accept your insurance. If you have a minor child, make sure that the laws in your state allow you to commit them against their will, if need be.

If your loved one is an adult and they’re willing to go to rehab, try to take a tour before they begin their program.

We offer inpatient and outpatient rehab options in a beautiful setting. We have medication-assisted detox and somatic therapy professionals on staff.

We also offer ongoing relapse prevention education, empowering your loved one to maintain their sobriety. Contact us online or give us a call for a tour of our Colorado or Arizona locations!


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

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