Trauma and Addiction Recovery are Connected

There is a direct correlation between trauma and addiction recovery. Many people who struggle with substance abuse have a history of trauma. Physical or sexual abuse, severe injury, assault, or any life event that overwhelms one’s ability to cope can be traumatic. In extreme cases, post-traumatic stress disorder can occur. When someone has unresolved trauma, they may feel unable to cope with it. They may abuse alcohol or drugs in an effort to avoid the disturbing thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with the traumatic memory.


Traumatic events can be internalized in the form of deeply held beliefs that undermine a person’s sense of safety and/or self-esteem. For example, a victim of sexual abuse might adopt the belief “I’m not worthy.” An assault victim might believe “I’m not safe.” A survivor who lost loved ones in an accident might hold onto intense guilt. These self-defeating core beliefs perpetuate the cycle of addiction.


Ripple Recovery Ranch offers trauma-informed care. Because we know trauma and addiction recovery can be closely connected, we offer EMDR Psychotherapy to those individuals who need it. EMDR is a powerful tool for quickly resolving trauma-related issues.

EMDR: An Information Processing Therapy for Trauma and Addiction Recovery

EMDR for Trauma and Addiction Recovery

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It is recognized as an effective form of trauma treatment in numerous practice guidelines worldwide. It attends to the past, present, and future:

Past: experiences that have set the groundwork for difficulties

Present: current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations

Future: the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health

When a disturbing event occurs, it can get locked in the nervous system with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, and feelings. This material can combine facts with fantasy, and with images that stand for the actual event or feelings about it. EMDR seems to unlock the nervous system. This allows the brain to process the experience.

EMDR can support rapid change and progress for a variety of issues that can be directly or indirectly contributing to the complex picture of an individual’s addiction, including:

Trauma i.e., rape, abuse, car accidents, combat, etc.
Addiction/Recovery i.e., triggers, urges, emotions, etc.
Other Issues i.e., fears, phobias, empowerment, etc.

Learn more about EMDR.