The journey to recovery is often complex for individuals grappling with addiction. They not only have to deal with the physical aspects of addiction in the form of withdrawal symptoms but also the psychological part of it. Addiction recovery often involves confronting deep-seated trauma that may have fueled the cycle of substance abuse.

Recognizing that there’s a connection between trauma and addiction, addiction treatment centers such as Evolve Indy now prioritize addressing underlying traumatic experiences during treatment to provide lasting recovery.

Trauma and Addiction

Trauma and addiction often go hand in hand. People who experience trauma in one form or another may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain. They do this in hopes of seeking solace from the overwhelming pain or distress associated with their past.

Traumatic events can disrupt the brain’s reward system and stress response, making it more likely for someone to develop addictive habits. On the other hand, addiction itself can exacerbate trauma creating a cycle of self-destructive coping mechanisms.

To truly overcome addiction, it’s important to address the underlying trauma and help the individual heal from it. Breaking this negative cycle helps individuals not only overcome substance abuse but also move towards emotional healing and a better, more stable life.

This is why trauma-focused treatment is crucial.

Treatment Options for Trauma in Addiction Centers

Here are some of the common treatment options for trauma found in addiction treatment facilities:

Individual Counseling and Therapy

Individual counseling is the bedrock of trauma-focused treatment in addiction centers. This therapy provides a safe space for individuals to uncover and explore their underlying traumatic experiences. The different therapeutic approaches used include:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT helps those in recovery to identify and reshape negative thoughts and behavior patterns tied to trauma. It helps individuals understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions and provides practical tools to break harmful patterns. CBT empowers people to develop healthier coping mechanisms and a positive mindset.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

DBT in counseling helps with trauma by combining cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies. This is particularly helpful for those grappling with emotional instability stemming from trauma. DBT teaches tolerance skills providing individuals with constructive ways to navigate challenging moments without resorting to harmful coping mechanisms. It also teaches mindfulness. This helps trauma survivors who are haunted by intrusive memories to anchor themselves in the current reality, reducing the impact of trauma on their emotional well-being.


  • The one-on-one nature of individual therapy allows for a more personalized focus on treatment where an individual can explore their traumatic experiences in-depth and resolve them.
  • The confidential setting fosters trust and encourages open and honest communication.
  • Therapists can tailor their interventions to the individual’s unique needs and strengths.

Group Therapy

Group therapy complements individual counseling by providing a supportive and empathetic community where those with shared experiences can come together to collectively process trauma. Guided by trained therapists, these sessions encompass various formats including:

Psychoeducation Groups

These groups educate participants on the connection between trauma, mental health, and addiction. Individuals get to learn the different kinds of trauma and how to resolve them.

Process groups

These groups create a communal space for participants to share their experiences and emotions. Participants share and discuss personal stories and this helps them process their trauma, creating a sense of community, validation, and support while promoting emotional healing.

Skill-based groups

The focus of these groups is to equip participants with practical skills to cope with trauma-related stress and triggers. Participants learn stress management techniques, effective communication, and strategies for handling triggers. This helps them learn how to navigate challenging situations, build resilience, and have better emotional regulation.


  • Group therapy establishes a sense of belonging and support from those who have faced similar challenges.
  •  Individuals are exposed to diverse perspectives, broadening their understanding and giving them alternative coping strategies.
  • Seeing peers progress and hearing their success stories nurtures hope and motivation.

Yoga and Mindfulness Practices

Integrating mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation into addiction treatment programs is invaluable for trauma survivors. Trauma-informed yoga focuses on creating a safe and empowering environment and preventing triggering responses. It combines gentle physical postures with mindfulness techniques, helping to center individuals in their bodies. 

By emphasizing breath awareness and encouraging participants to focus on the present moment, trauma-informed yoga helps people reconnect with their bodies. This improves emotional regulation, reduces anxiety, and provides a holistic approach to trauma healing.


  • Yoga and mindfulness practices encourage individuals to focus on and listen to their bodies, improving self-awareness and promoting a sense of safety.
  • These practices are highly effective in helping individuals to control stress and anxiety, common symptoms of trauma.
  • Mindfulness practices ground individuals in the present moment, reducing the impact of intrusive traumatic memories. This helps trauma survivors to remain anchored during challenging moments, preventing them from being overwhelmed by re-experiencing traumatic events.
  • Learning to regulate emotions through mindfulness practices empowers individuals to effectively manage their triggers and stressors.

EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy approach designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. Carried out as an eight-phase process, EMDR guides individuals through history-taking, treatment planning, and processing sessions.

In EMDR sessions, individuals focus on specific traumatic memories while following a therapist’s hand movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. This process facilitates the reprocessing of distressing memories, allowing individuals to integrate them in a less distressing manner. EMDR helps individuals navigate and make sense of their traumatic past, fostering empowerment and resilience in trauma recovery.


  • EMDR has demonstrated effectiveness in processing traumatic memories more rapidly than traditional talk therapy.
  • Individuals undergoing EMDR often report a significant reduction in emotional distress associated with traumatic memories.
  • This method helps individuals integrate positive beliefs about themselves, fostering empowerment.
  • Since it focuses on specific traumatic memories EMDR provides targeted treatment with positive outcomes.
  • EMDR provides holistic healing by addressing the emotional, cognitive, and physiological aspects of trauma healing.

Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy involves guided interactions between individuals and horses to promote trauma healing. Horses are sensitive, non-judgmental creatures and provide a unique platform for metaphorical learning. Participants in equine-assisted therapy take part in activities like grooming and leading, allowing them to establish a connection with the horses. This in turn fosters trust and empathy.

The hands-on nature of equine-assisted therapy offers a tangible and experiential way for individuals to process trauma and gain personal insight and growth. For instance, individuals learn to be calm when working with horses which helps them learn to regulate their emotions. 

Additionally, gaining the trust of these sensitive creatures helps participants learn to rebuild trust and confidence in themselves. Some of the activities done in equine-assisted therapy require cooperation with others. This helps trauma survivors learn to collaborate and work in a team with others.


  •  Equine-assisted therapy provides individuals with opportunities to address and overcome personal challenges. It allows them to gain deeper insight into themselves and their thoughts and behaviors.
  • Interacting with horses helps individuals rebuild trust both in themselves and others, a crucial aspect of trauma recovery.
  • Working with horses is therapeutic and teaches individuals to regulate their emotions, which helps in managing trauma-related stress and triggers.
  • Horses respond to non-verbal cues allowing individuals to communicate and connect with them without relying solely on words.
  • Actively engaging with horses allows individuals to build confidence and develop a sense of control over their lives. This comes in handy when overcoming challenges that may arise in the future.

Invest in Your Recovery at Evolve Indy

Underlying trauma can lead to addiction and if not dealt with, can hamper treatment and recovery efforts. That’s why addiction treatment centers must address trauma as part of treatment. The advantages extend beyond symptom reduction, empowering those in recovery to understand, process, and integrate their traumatic experiences thus increasing the likelihood of long-term recovery.

At Evolve Indy, we provide treatment services that address the root cause of addiction. We care about our clients’ recovery and ensure that our programs are geared toward helping them attain lasting sobriety. Before treatment, individuals have to undergo personalized assessments carried out by qualified professionals. This helps determine what issues they have and helps plan their treatment.

Additionally, we offer individualized treatment plans that take into consideration an individual’s unique recovery needs and goals. If a person is dealing with trauma, their treatment plan will ensure that this will be the focus of their treatment.

In addition to a conducive environment for recovery, we provide a comprehensive continuum of care at Evolve Indy. We have a range of addiction treatment programs that allow individuals to move from one stage to another as they progress with treatment. For instance, those who start with residential treatment may step down to partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment before finally getting to outpatient treatment. The last stage is aftercare treatment which helps the individual to reintegrate into society.

If you or your loved one is dealing with both trauma and addiction, give us a call today to see how we can help.

Call Now Button