Trauma-Informed Care

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    A study by the Agency for Health Research and Quality showed that around one in three women had experienced at least one physical assault in adulthood. In addition, at least one in six American women have experienced attempted rape. The study also posits that at least one in five girls experience sexual abuse by age 13

    Hundreds of women suffer addiction and trauma every year. Treating trauma with care prevents the escalation of the trauma to depression and other physiological and psychological issues. Trauma-informed care is crucial in supporting patients and responding to the root cause.

    Trauma-informed care helps people who have experienced trauma and addiction develop healthy relationships with healthcare providers. This engagement helps care providers dig into the root cause of the patient’s problem before administering treatment.

    What is Trauma?

    Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. The condition can be physical, emotional, or psychological and can be caused by an event experienced as threatening or overwhelming. Trauma can also be caused by repeated exposure to distressing or horrifying events, such as abuse or neglect. 

    Traumatic exposure can cut across socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, gender, age group, and sexual orientation. Nonetheless, women comprise the largest population of traumatized victims in society. This can be attributed to the historical marginalization of women, abusive partners, and general discrimination in society.

    Examples of Trauma

    Women exposed to traumatic events are prone to health issues resulting from unhealthy coping mechanisms. These unhealthy coping skills may include drug abuse, alcoholism, and risky sexual behaviors. The combination of trauma and the high-risk behaviors place the victims at high risk of deteriorated physical, emotional, and psychological health. 

    Although recognizing examples and the prevalence of traumatic exposure is often underestimated. Health and social service providers acknowledge the presence of some common examples of traumas prevalent in many patients today.

    Some of these examples of trauma include:

    Experiencing or witnessing a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake

    Experiencing or seeing a man-made disaster, such as a mass shooting or terrorist attack

    Experiencing or witnessing violence, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse

    Experiencing or witnessing neglect or abandonment

    Experiencing or witnessing war or conflict

    Experiencing or seeing racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination

    Experiencing or witnessing the death or severe injury of a loved one

    What is Trauma-Informed Care?

    Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based, trauma-sensitive approach that recognizes the impact of trauma on an individual’s life. This method responds in a way that is respectful of the individual’s experiences. This approach focuses on the individual’s strengths and resilience rather than the individual’s deficits. It recognizes that the individual has survived a traumatic event and can heal and thrive.

    Trauma-informed care is based on the understanding that an individual’s response to a traumatic event is expected. It emphasizes that the individual is not to blame for the event. It also acknowledges that an individual may have experienced multiple traumas and that the impact of trauma can be cumulative.

    This approach to treatment emphasizes the need for healthcare providers to develop a clear picture of a patient’s condition. Trauma-informed healthcare providers understand the need to create a trusting relationship with the patient to establish the cause of their trauma.

    What are the 5 Principles of Trauma-Informed Care?

    The five principles of trauma-informed care include:

    Safety. This may sound obvious, but not in some cases. For example, healthcare providers working with patients who have suffered traumatic events must ensure physical and emotional safety before and during treatment.

    Trustworthiness. Consistency in providing safe care and meeting patients’ expectations is essential for showing that a healthcare setting is worthy of trust. 

    Choice. There is a need to understand that most trauma victims take a lot of time before deciding on professional help. Hence each care setting has to work closely with the patient to determine the treatment choice to provide desired results. Working on a patient’s choice of intervention is essential to building their trust. 

    Collaboration. Unlike conventional treatment, trauma-informed care does not involve strict treatment protocol. Instead, it depends on intuition and empathy. Informed care emphasizes collaboration between healthcare providers and patients to develop a practical solution.

    Empowerment. Trauma-informed care focuses on empowering trauma victims to realize and build on their existing strengths. The approach establishes healthy coping skills based on patients’ strengths. This helps to build a strong foundation for dealing with current and future events.

    Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care

    Creating an effective relationship with the patient through their special attention to trauma and understanding their past can help provide better care. Patients with a history of adverse traumatic experiences such as physical assaults and rape can be reticent to trust, especially strangers.

    The benefits of trauma-informed care are limitless to women suffering from trauma and their loved ones. Trauma experiences can be inherently associated with physical and psychological well-being. There has been a wide linkage between these events and risky behaviors that may cause deaths among victims. 

    The Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advocates for the need for healthcare providers to understand the impact of trauma in providing effective treatment. Consequently, trauma-informed care is a comprehensive approach that focuses on improving the healthcare experience for all patients.

    There hasn’t been a comprehensive study on the impact of trauma-informed treatment. However, preliminary research shows improvement for trauma and addiction patients under this approach.

    Women's Rehab in Orange County

    Many women suffer trauma and addiction in society today. Health organizations have developed various approaches to treating trauma among patients. However, most of these approaches focus on symptoms rather than the root cause of the problem. 

    Victims of traumatic experiences need professional care to consider their physical and psychological wellbeing. In Orange County, New Directions for Women is a rehab for women founded on the essential principles of trauma-informed care. Contact New Directions for Women for effective trauma-informed treatment.

    Clinically Reviewed By:

    Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

    Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

    Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our patients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

    Medically Reviewed By:

    Dr. Alejandro Alva, M.D., Consulting Medical Director

    Dr. Alejandro Alva, M.D., Consulting Medical Director

    Alejandro Alva, MD, has a focus on substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment and general psychiatric disorders. Dr. Alva earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, and completed medical school at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Mexico. He then returned to California, where he completed his psychiatric residency at the University of California, Irvine.

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