Trauma, Abuse & Addiction Treatment in Arizona

The Link Between Trauma, Abuse, and Addiction

Trauma is a complex thing that healthcare professionals today are still continuing to understand, with new understandings continually being made regarding the connection between trauma and addiction. What we know is that there are many events that can be traumatic and events can occur at any point and have long-lasting impacts, including addiction and continual post-traumatic stress disorder. Childhood abuse, the loss of a job, an unexpected divorce, or car accident can all have a deep and negative impact on a person, with long-term results including depression, fatigue, fearfulness, and addiction leading to co-occurring disorders.

While time may heal some, for many victims of trauma, the road to recovery is long and the process near impossible to go it alone. For such individuals, we recommend seeking professional assistance with an experienced and compassionate mental health and addiction treatment center in Arizona. Here at the Renaissance Recovery Center, our compassionate team of professionals are here to help you heal


For some individuals who are working to overcome substance abuse or addiction, dependency developed largely as a response to past trauma or abuse. For this reason, trauma and abuse survival are two central topics discussed in our intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program. Here is a look at how trauma and abuse can be linked to addiction.

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Trauma and PTSD are often intertwined with drug and alcohol addiction, as trauma has proven to be a major underlying source of addictive behavior. Having experienced trauma does not, of course, guarantee that you will develop a substance addiction, but it does put you at higher risk. Substance abuse may begin as a form of self-medication, for example, where a drug or alcohol is used to combat symptoms of trauma like anxiety, fear, insomnia, shame, guilt, self-blame, irritability, and insomnia. Trauma can also have significant rewiring effects on the brain, causing an individual to experience higher than normal rates of anxiety, to re-experience memories in the present-day loop, and to more readily engage in behaviors they might normally inhabit. These neurological effects of trauma can ultimately predispose that individual and make them more likely to develop an addiction.

Trauma can stem from a variety of sources, including accidents, natural disasters, injuries, violent attacks, ongoing stress (such as living in a high-crime neighborhood or battling a chronic illness), an unexpected death, a breakup in a significant relationship, or a deeply humiliating experience. There is, of course, also abuse, which will be covered in this next section. 00 11 679 871


Physical and sexual abuse are two types of trauma that carry especially strong links to substance abuse and addiction.

Physical abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. It can involve striking, slapping, hitting, beating, pushing, shaking, kicking, or even burning. In most cases, children are the victims of physical abuse, but adults can be the victims of physical abuse as well. Just as with any form of trauma, physical abuse can have rewiring effects on the brain, making a person more prone to experiencing anxiety, stress, low self-worth, or depression—any of which can ultimately become a trigger for substance use.

Sexual abuse is defined as any sexual-based act or event that causes trauma to the victim. It may take the form of rape, incest, sexual assault, sexual harassment, child molestation, or hate crime based on gender identity or sexual orientation; and it can cause significant physical and/or psychological harm to the victim. Sexual abuse is estimated to make an individual 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, and 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, in their lifetime. There is an especially strong correlation between a history of sexual abuse and addictive behaviors in women.

The Basics of Trauma Therapy in Arizona and How it Works

Trauma therapy is a phrase that encompasses a variety of therapy techniques used by counselors to help individuals overcome their psychological trauma. As stated above, traumatic events can be any type of event, but they are defined as being traumatic should they have been scenarios in which the victim perceived a threat to their life, bodily integrity, or sanity. It is what happens when one’s immediate ability to cope is overwhelmed. The goal of trauma therapy is to get the individual to face that trauma and learn skills that can enable them to cope and overcome the negative feelings associated with the event. This includes treatment for trauma and addiction that arose in a self-guided attempt at self-coping

Different types of Trauma Therapy and Mental Health Counseling Services in Arizona

At a qualified trauma treatment center in Arizona such as ours, you’ll find counseling services for both a wide range of situations, including therapy for childhood trauma, sexual abuse therapy, domestic abuse therapy, PTSD counseling and addiction and trauma treatment for co-occurring disorders. The following is a look at a few of the different ways we approach this type of therapy:

  • EMDR trauma therapy – EMDR trauma therapy is a relatively new type of therapy that uniquely does not focus on extended exposure to the distressing memory that caused the trauma. Instead, over the course of six to twelve sessions, a therapist will encourage their patient to very briefly focus on that traumatic memory while rapidly moving their eye in a rhythmic way. In doing so, these eye movements can significantly help dampen the power of the emotionally charged memories causing one to experience negative symptoms.
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) – This type of trauma-focused therapy is most generally used for children and adolescents who are impacted by trauma. TF-CBT is a recent type of therapy, developed in the 1990s first with the aim of creating a better type of childhood sexual abuse therapy but later encompassing all matter of childhood trauma therapy. Here, counselors use cognitive behavioral techniques to help modify patients’ distorted or otherwise negative thinking and the reactions and behavior s to create new positive thinking and reactions. This method is most effective with children and teenagers due to the way their brains are continuing to develop. It is also important to have family members or similar guardians work in tandem with the youth to likewise improve their parenting, communication, and stress-management techniques for a better at-home environment.
  • Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) – This is an effective therapy for adults and commonly used for PTSD and trauma counseling. Here, the therapist helps the patient become aware of the relationship between their thoughts and emotions and those “automatic thoughts” creating PTSD symptoms like physical trauma and substance abuse. The counselor helps the patient go through their traumatic event and help break down the negative patterns so they can better understand why they react the way they do in order to overcome it and eliminate the ongoing negative symptoms.

Get Help with PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Treatment in Arizona at the Renaissance Recovery Center

Are you or someone you love in need of trauma therapy or other mental health counseling services in Arizona? Whether it’s for a teenager struggling to overcome death in the family or an adult struggling with addiction following a job loss, our experienced and compassionate counselors and physicians at Renaissance Recovery Center are here for you.

Renaissance Recovery Center is a drug and alcohol outpatient addiction center that specializes in trauma therapy in Arizona. Our team focuses on fostering healing from addictions, all sorts of addiction, with Gospel-centered 12-step recovery program. Because addiction hurts the whole family, many of our therapies are designed to include the whole family and help both the individual recover and prepare their family to assist once they are ready to enter the world.

Contact our team today to learn more

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