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How Somatic Experiencing Can Help Those With PTSD and Addiction

 

Trauma is persistent. It is something that can continue to impact someone’s like months, years, even decades, after the inciting event occurs, this is often referred to as post-traumatic experience disorder (PTSD). The trauma that occurs often leads to other major physical and mental health problems that can take hold and linger throughout life.

One of the major problems associated with trauma, especially childhood trauma, is addiction and substance abuse problems.

What Is Somatic Experiencing?

Somatic Experiencing is a body-focused form of therapy that is used to help people dealing with PTSD. Essentially, the therapy focuses on creating awareness of sensations that the body is feeling that may be carriers of the traumatic event.

The overall goal of somatic experiencing is to release these sensations that the body will feel when reliving these traumatic experiences – helping reduce and eliminate PTSD symptoms.

Is Somatic Experiencing Effective?

Evidence shows that Somatic Experiencing is effective for PTSD treatment, in fact one study showed that over 44% of people lost the PTSD diagnosis completely. Along with PTSD, SE can have a large effect on depressive symptoms as well.

By working to overcome these problems related to past trauma, it can help people with the residual effects of these issues – such as addiction and substance abuse.

For addiction specifically, it is vital to deal with any underlying problems that may be contributing to or even causing substance abuse.

Somatic Experiencing for Addiction Treatment

As mentioned previously, PTSD tends to be a common co-occurring disorder for those dealing with substance abuse problems. Substance abuse and mental health disorders occurring at the same time is a somewhat normal occurrence and is referred to as a dual diagnosis. If patients with these problems wish to have the best shot at overcoming these issues, they need to be treated simultaneously.

Somatic experiencing is only a part of the comprehensive treatment programs that patients will go through during their stay at an inpatient rehab facility. Along with somatic experiencing, some of the other programs that they may experience include exercise for addiction treatment, mindfulness and meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more.

All of these programs are in place to help patients achieve one thing: sobriety.

To do that, it may mean targeting underlying problems and conditions that may be contributing to their substance abuse such as depression, anxiety, or in this case, PTSD. If you are looking for help for you or your loved one, The Hope House, a drug and alcohol rehab in Arizona is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality care during their stay at our luxury rehab facility.

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I have experienced many major traumas in my 56yrs. Pretty much since birth.  I have been in therapy since my husband died when I was 33. I have had 3 really good therapist (Lafayette, IN.) during that time and many that weren't. Most of that time was spent with damage control while I finished raising our 3 daughters. (They were 4, 2, and 2 when their dad died). Now they are all grown. I moved to another state (Ohio) 5 yrs ago and have finally found a good therapist (trauma informed). She ask me to call a place that does somatic experiencing to see if they could work with me in tandem with her. I was so excited because this made so much sense.  Sadly,  I found 2 places but neither of them could accept Medicare and I can't afford $150 per session. Is there anything I can do to get this changed in Medicare???  I don't understand how I can feel so disconnected from myself yet feel so much physical pain.  I need help and can't get it. I am so sick of just surviving. Life has no purpose.

Hi Lisa!

Thanks for reading, thanks for your comment, and thanks for being a valued member of ACEs Connection.

I can relate so much to your comments about being sick of surviving and life having no purpose. Those are the exact intrusive thoughts my depression gave me before I got the treatment I needed, which was a combination of therapy, medication, and yoga.

I absolutely despise our poor healthcare system, if it can even be called a "system" in the US. I'm grateful that Medicare does cover a lot of therapy and mental health treatment, but frustrated about all the things it does not cover--one of which being special high end therapies such as Somatic Experiencing (SE).

Here are some low-cost alternatives:
+ free online yoga classes. Search "yoga" in YouTube. You can even search for trauma-informed yoga and trauma-sensitive yoga and there's a lot of good stuff there that can help you start to do this body work
+ EMDR is something many therapy practitioners offer who may be covered by Medicare and has at least some evidence of helping release trauma from the body
+ trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive mindfulness and body-centered meditation--you can also find these on YouTube. Insight Meditation is an amazing FREE app with wonderful guided practices
+ books from the library, especially by Peter Levine, the founder of SE. I have been reading his books and doing the practices on myself and having great results!

Lastly, you can always ask SE practitioners if they offer sliding scale payments or a work-trade.

SE can be great, but it's not the only path to bodywork and it's not the only path to healing. It's amazing that you've been in therapy and that you've already done so much healing. We hope we can continue to offer great resources for you at ACEs Connection.

One resource that I don't think people utilize enough is the:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
800-273-8255
I call crisis hotlines when my intrusive thoughts intrude a little too strongly and I always feel better after talking with a trained person on the other end of the line.

Here is content we (ACEs Connection) produced on trauma-sensitive yoga. https://youtu.be/29fE5Wp1q3c with a guided practice. Please let us know if we can point you toward any other resources.

Best,

Alison

I have experienced many major traumas in my 56yrs. Pretty much since birth.  I have been in therapy since my husband died when I was 33. I have had 3 really good therapist (Lafayette, IN.) during that time and many that weren't. Most of that time was spent with damage control while I finished raising our 3 daughters. (They were 4, 2, and 2 when their dad died). Now they are all grown. I moved to another state (Ohio) 5 yrs ago and have finally found a good therapist (trauma informed). She ask me to call a place that does somatic experiencing to see if they could work with me in tandem with her. I was so excited because this made so much sense.  Sadly,  I found 2 places but neither of them could accept Medicare and I can't afford $150 per session. Is there anything I can do to get this changed in Medicare???  I don't understand how I can feel so disconnected from myself yet feel so much physical pain.  I need help and can't get it. I am so sick of just surviving. Life has no purpose.

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