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For the many individuals who suffer trauma, the good news is that the co-occurring disorders of addiction and PTSD are treatable.

Our goal for everyone is recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMSHA) defines Recovery, “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives and strive to reach their full potential.” We understand and know that people who suffer from addiction and PTSD are not broken and can recover.

PTSD seems like a condition of the past but is a condition of the present, and is seen by some as a memory condition rather than a condition of the brain. We are not claiming that PTSD doesn’t change the brain (pardon the double negatives). We are claiming:

  1. the science of neuroplasticity proves that the brain can heal, given the opportunity and
  2. that proper therapies can reduce the “zing” to the memory and dramatically reduce the emotional intensity.

The genesis of addiction is a search for a “better feeling.” This search creates motivation for a person to “reach out” for something that will generate relief or a “good feeling.” Many suffering with trauma may find that relief, albeit temporary, through drugs, alcohol, etc. It can be said that addiction begins as an innocent attempt to find relief through something outside ourselves such as drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex, relationships, etc., etc. The pain that many people are searching to find relief can be as simple as the need to “fit in,” to find peace or serenity, overcome boredom, etc. For many exposed to trauma, the pain tends to be more complex. People suffering with PTSD just want to quit being haunted by the past, stop the feelings of extreme anxiety and fear, and for the pain to just go away.
Watch this excerpt from one of our graduates, traumacare was a big part of Carson’s alcohol recovery.

The illusion created by self-medicating through drugs and alcohol is that it works.

a man thinks he needs a trauma and ptsd treatment centerThe tragedy is that, slowly over time, drug and alcohol use creates a much larger problem and yet greater source of pain. This is when a person becomes “hijacked” and caught in the addiction trap. People caught in the addiction trap are in an endless cycle of taking the alcohol or drug to feel better from the pain that the alcohol or drug created in the first place. So round and round they go, with no end in sight.

Just as the traumatic event and the feelings associated continually resurfaces over and over, so does the illusion that a drug and/or alcohol can still be a solution. No matter how much pain the drug and/or alcohol is creating, it’s still the only solution the person knows. Unfortunately, addiction is a progressive illness and so the “pain” from the drug and/or alcohol continues to grow. All of a sudden, like a “thief in the night,” the solution has quit working and the person is left with two problems that seem insurmountable.

Several people who experience drug and/or alcohol addiction, in occurrence with PTSD, have sought help without finding much relief. Some have found temporary relief only to have the traumatic event resurface. Many have lost hope. Unfortunately, several who attend traditional twelve-step programs do not find relief with what is underlying the addiction problem. Also, traditional psychotherapy alone can produce relief for a few, but many continue to experience residual effects. It is now recognized that a multi-faceted, individualized, holistic approach using a variety of therapies give those suffering from addiction with underlying trauma a much greater chance of finding contentment and recovery.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent and debilitating exposure to severe psychological trauma and is viewed by many as a brain circuit dysfunction. Trauma literally changes the brain. The good news is that the brain can heal. One of the keys is neuroplasticity. William Sheil Jr., MD on MedicineNet, defines neuroplasticity: “The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.” Our brains are constantly being shaped by our experiences. A couple of old adages are, “practice makes perfect – use it or lose it.” The neuroscience version is “neurons that fire together, wire together – neurons that fire apart, wire apart”. Simply put, neuroplasticity is the brain’s amazing ability to heal or change itself.

Gulf Breeze Recovery’s “traumacare” program is designed for those who have experienced traumatic events.

The program utilizes a multi-faceted holistic approach in treating those suffering with the co-occurring disorders of alcoholism/addiction (Substance Use Disorder or SUD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The program uses methods to naturally enhance neuroplasticity, therapies to confront fearful memories and to “unblock” the brains natural healing processes, along with education concerning addiction, PTSD, and the principles of mind, thought and consciousness. All of the therapies listed in this track are pieces designed to work in conjunction with each other to form the whole.

The ultimate goal of the program is to help those suffering with trauma find relief and start reclaiming their lives. Relief will begin by utilizing various therapies to address the underlying cause and reduce the negative impacts that started and furthered the alcoholism/addiction problem. Once a person begins to experience relief from PTSD, hope for liberation from the alcohol/addiction problem follows. Ultimately, we want people to understand that they are not broken and that living happily is possible.

People in the “traumacare” program will begin the same as everyone else. Those who need detoxification shall enter our licensed medical detoxification program and spend however long necessary. A person’s length of stay shall be determined on an individualized basis by our medical director. After detox, individuals will enter the residential program and begin the “traumacare” protocols in the mornings and attend classes in the evening.

One of the protocols is neurofeedback, which is a noninvasive form of brain exercise that enhances neuroplasticity and enables participants to retrain mental resources to improve memory, concentration, focus, as well as positively impacting other conditions such as PTSD.

Our neurofeedback system automates the exact implementations of alpha-theta protocol demonstrated in studies to address trauma and addictions. Alpha-theta is also the best protocol to address fears, phobias, fibromyalgia, and forms of anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Neurofeedback is completely non-intrusive and completely safe.

After the first week, participants shall enter into the physical health recovery portion of the program during the mornings and classes in the evenings. The physical health recovery is a series of exercise (as heavy or light as you are comfortable with) and spa therapies meant to help people begin the healing process, and to start feeling better. During this part, the individual will continue “traumacare” protocols.

a man debates using a trauma and ptsd treatment centerAfter the physical health recovery portion, participants shall enter the mental health recovery part. The mental health recovery portion consists of classes in the morning designed to assist people in furthering their understanding of the universal principles behind how the mind works, where our feelings actually come from, the gift of and sometimes illusionary nature of thought (in other words, don’t believe everything you think), and the role of consciousness in everyone’s lives. During this part, those in the “traumacare” will continue neurofeedback.

During these various segments of the program, those in “traumacare” will attend special “breakout” evening classes dedicated solely to those suffering with trauma or PTSD. The classes are designed to educate participants on trauma and how it affects the brain and controls a person’s life. Participants will also be taught the “why, what and how” of our treatment modalities and PTSD. Throughout the program, participants will also engage in numerous individual therapy sessions with their counselor, which are designed to help people address and move beyond the trauma and PTSD.

The entirety of “traumacare” is designed to lessen the impact of traumatic memories by using a multifaceted approach of therapeutically-sound methods. This approach helps people move beyond a place where they have been mentally “stuck” for a long time. This “freedom” allows a person to finally begin the “trilateral” healing process: mentally, physically and spiritually. It also enables the person to truly address the alcohol/drug problem and to insightfully understand and “see” it for what it really is, which is an innocent attempt to find relief. This understanding enables people to forgive themselves and to develop an awareness that suffering from PTSD and “being an addict” is not who they really are. In essence, the “traumacare” program enables people to rediscover themselves and to move beyond addiction and their trauma or PTSD.

Learn more about trauma and PTSD by checking out these blogs: