Women and Trauma
One size does not fit all for people entering treatment for alcoholism, addiction, and trauma – this is especially true for women.
Everyone experiences trauma at some point in their lives, simply through living. We will all lose a loved one, encounter those who mean us harm, or fall victim to some sort of accident. Each person handles these obstacles differently – while a large percentage of women may not be affected, for some, traumatic events lead to years of mental illness and uncontrollable substance abuse. At Augustine Recovery, we offer trauma-first treatment for women dealing with addiction.
Psychological experts define trauma as a person becoming emotionally overwhelmed by a perceived threat to their life, health, or safety. These events can be sudden, like a car accident, or ongoing, as in the case of domestic violence. While men are slightly more predisposed to experiencing traumatic events, women are twice as likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the fact.
While we may associate trauma with combat veterans, women in the United States are actually at a significant risk of lifelong PTSD symptoms. Traumatic events that impact women include:
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Sexual abuse
- Serious injury or illness
- Living in poverty
- Growing up in an alcoholic household
- Death of a loved one
- Natural disasters
- Divorce or the end of a significant relationship
- Abandonment or neglect
- Childhood abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual)
- Witnessing any of the above incidents
PTSD Symptoms in Women
Whether acute, chronic, or complex, trauma is difficult to cope with on your own. It can result in an unpleasant host of mental and physical symptoms, including the following:
- Persistent, intrusive thoughts about the event
- Feelings of anxiety or fear
- Hypervigilance and an exaggerated startle response
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood swings and irritability
- Seeming “on edge” and tense all the time
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and shame
- Gaps in memory
- Physical aches and pains that cannot otherwise be explained
- Relationship problems
- Difficulty sleeping through the night
- Panic attacks/anxiety attacks
- Problems with decision-making
- Flashbacks and nightmares
How Women Experience Addiction and Trauma
Many women struggle to deal with the above symptoms of PTSD. They may begin coping through substance use. For example, women who suffer from insomnia might drink before bed in an attempt to fall asleep. Those who have regular panic attacks often turn to opioids or benzodiazepines, increasing their dose as they build a tolerance.
Unfortunately, while drinking and drug use may temporarily quiet one’s symptoms, these unhealthy coping mechanisms do not address the root cause of a person’s issues. Prolonged substance abuse creates its own host of problems, including addiction. That’s why Augustine Recovery prioritizes trauma-first treatment for all of our affected residents.
Healing from Trauma
PTSD is common among women, and it is unlikely to resolve on its own. That’s why it is vital for those with a history of trauma and substance abuse to receive intensive treatment at an accredited facility. At Augustine Recovery, we are proud to offer access to:
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an exciting therapeutic approach for trauma. Our EMDR therapists use innovative, evidence-based techniques to help you confront, reframe, and reduce sensitivity to traumatic memories.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Trauma
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, abbreviated CBT, is the gold standard of trauma treatment. This modality is a type of talk therapy, which enables you to work through troubling events with the aid of a licensed counselor.
Group therapy can also be helpful in the treatment of PTSD in women. Through these sessions, you will hear the stories of other women who have dealt with similar struggles. Our residents find empowerment, fellowship, and healing in our daily process groups.
Finally, it is important to understand the link between past trauma and present substance abuse. We explore the connection between drinking, drug use, and PTSD for all of our residents in a 12-Step setting.
Women’s PTSD Treatment in Florida
At Augustine Recovery, we know what you’ve been through – we’ve been there ourselves. Addiction is an inherently traumatizing experience, and it is only worsened by co-occurring conditions like PTSD. We offer comprehensive therapy that isn’t just “trauma-informed.” We are proud to provide a trauma-first approach to women’s addiction treatment.
If you have been affected by trauma, or know someone who has, contact the Augustine Recovery admissions team today.