Past Traumas and How They May Be Affecting You Now
At Lakehouse Recovery, we believe that to truly work through past trauma, one must first have a stable foundation. Our specialists are experienced with trauma, but as an organization, we do not focus on it. With that being said, there is no question that past traumas can have detrimentally long-lasting effects on both mental and physical health.
Past traumas are often the root cause of life struggles any one of us may be facing at any given time, whether it manifests through mental illness, substance use disorder, eating disorders, or other struggles we may be grappling with. While our programs are not geared toward diving deep into root traumas, we do make a point of being trauma-informed, advocate for trauma-informed treatment, and can refer and recommend trauma specialists that may be best suited for your recovery.
Trauma Attachment Styles
Each kind of trauma attachment has specific characteristics that have different effects on daily life. These negative effects can be treated through organizational and clinical means. Experts on trauma-informed care have been continually working on ways to practically implement treatments for trauma-induced struggles and illnesses.
Understanding the types of trauma attachment styles can better help with trauma-informed treatment. The four main types of trauma attachment styles include:
- Secure Attachment: refers to a child who has been cared for by sensitive and responsive caregivers. Secure attachment allows for regulation of distress and comfortability while expressing feelings and needs. This style makes up about 55% of the population.
- Avoidant Attachment: describes a scenario where a caregiver has difficulty responding to an infant’s needs. The hostile, rejecting, and controlling parenting style causes the child to feel unlovable and shut down their feelings. Insecure avoidant attachment makes up about 23% of the population.
- Ambivalent Attachment: occurs mostly in a caregiver whose response to a child’s needs is inconsistent. This causes children to try and attract attention but makes it difficult for them to be noticed. They experience conflicting anxiety about their need for attention and struggle to attain it. Ambivalent attachment accounts for 8% of the population.
- Disorganized Attachment: happens when a child is fearful of their caregiver. This fear is a result of the unpredictability of that caregiver’s response, which can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between. The child is left unable to organize their behavior or regulate their emotions. Disorganized attachment may only make up 15% of the population; however, 80% of maltreated children often develop disorganized attachments.
Recognizing and Understanding Trauma and Your Reaction
A key to healing from trauma is recognizing and understanding how it may affect your daily life. By understanding the impact of trauma, you can navigate through potential paths of recovery. Some common reactions to trauma include confusion, sadness, anxiety to dissociation, and physical manifestations of anger or arousal. In cases of continuous or constant distress, responses will often intensify. Trauma responses can also be delayed. In these cases, individuals may experience constant fatigue, nightmares, flashbacks, depression, anxiety, and may even develop sleep disorders.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma, in that from a clinical perspective, “a response style is less important than the degree to which coping efforts successfully allow one to continue necessary activities, regulate emotions, sustain self-esteem, and maintain and enjoy interpersonal contact.” The primary struggles in daily life revolve around difficulties cultivating or maintaining interpersonal relationships, regulating emotions, and effective implementation of coping skills.
Trauma, Substance Use Disorder, and Co-Occurring Disorders
Symptoms of trauma-related disorders often overlap with other disorders. There are correlations between trauma – whether individual, group or mass traumas – and substance use. People may turn to alcohol or drug use as a way to cope with traumatic stress. In some instances, individuals experiencing a substance use disorder may be at a higher risk of developing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
The three hypotheses that try to explain the relationship between PTSD and substance use disorders include:
- Self-Medication Hypothesis: implies those with PTSD use substances to cope with their symptoms, often in hopes of numbing emotional pain or forgetting the traumatic event.
- High-Risk Hypothesis: implies those using substances are at a higher risk of ending up in situations that may cause PTSD.
- Susceptibility Hypothesis: implies that substance use can make it difficult for individuals to develop effective coping skills, changes brain chemistry, and damages “neurophysiological systems,” all of which cause the individual to become more susceptible to PTSD.
Successful trauma-informed treatment will:
- Focus on the person’s strengths to empower them in developing their treatment
- Give individuals possible treatment options, but allow them to decide which they think is best for them
- Include a collaborative effort between the health care provider, patients, and family members
- Prioritize a person’s physical and emotional safety
- Develop trust with patients
Trauma can have several mental, emotional, and physical effects on a person. These short-term or long-term effects can result in trauma-specific disorders, substance use disorders, and other co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Processing the emotions associated with trauma is a process, but there is real hope. Here at Lakehouse Recovery, we want to help you maintain sobriety or begin your journey toward recovery. If you have recently been treated for trauma, we encourage you to reach out and take the next steps toward recovery through our programs. While we are not focused on treating trauma, we believe in the importance of trauma-informed care, have specialized and skilled staff to educate you, and make recommendations or referrals to trauma-focused facilities for more appropriate trauma treatment. Either way, please call (877) 762-3707 to get more information. Don’t wait any longer to take back control of your life.