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The Benefits of Brainspotting for Trauma and Addiction

A brain representing brainspotting for trauma and addiction.

Individuals who experience various types of trauma can attempt to cope with their traumatic event by turning to drugs and alcohol, especially men. Most men have difficulty sharing their experiences and do not want to appear weak or frail in front of their peers. As a result, the effects of their unresolved trauma often lead to addiction to one or more substances. In addition, unsolved traumatic experiences place one at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression and PTSD.  Men who want help should consider brainspotting for trauma and addiction as part of their rehab and recovery treatment plan.

What Is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a form of psychotherapy that allows the individual the opportunity to be guided through their trauma and develop effective tools for addressing the trauma while overcoming any related psychological, physical, or emotional responses.

The psychotherapist will guide the patient using sound, image sensory tools, and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) techniques during therapy. Their objective is to get the patient to focus on specific “brainspots” associated with their trauma.

Once one is located, the therapist has the patient describe the feelings and sensations they are experiencing. Next, they present an alternative option for the patient to consider and reflect upon. As they do, this alternative option can help the patient resolve the sensations and feelings associated with that particular “brainspot.”

Ongoing therapy is often required as the patient gradually works through individual “brainspots” associated with their traumatic experience.  Gradually, the patient will be able to effectively cope with the trauma and begin to move forward with their life.

How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?

After experiencing trauma, it is very common to relive the events surrounding the trauma in the form of nightmares, daydreams, and triggering events. This experience would be similar to being in a car that you drove in a constant circle with no way to exit the road.

When drugs and alcohol are used to self-treat trauma, it provides a temporary out that alleviates the associated symptoms of the trauma. So, instead of relieving the events over and over, one can feel more normal and function. Yet, as the effects of the drugs or alcohol wear off, one finds themselves once again trapped, driving around in circles over and over as they relive their traumatic experience. So, they continue to use drugs or drink.

Unfortunately, this temporary solution results in the body developing a tolerance to the abused substances. As a result, larger doses of drugs and larger volumes of alcohol are consumed. Sadly, the individual ultimately traps themself in another ongoing circle with no exit as the cycle of their addiction is being driven by their trauma.

How Is Brainsporting Used for Trauma and Addiction?

Brainspotting for trauma and addiction focuses on treating the co-occurring events of the trauma itself and the substance abuse. The individual progresses through a multiple-stage treatment plan while exploring the events surrounding their traumatic event and addiction.

In addition, the person is taught how to focus on these experiences they may have disassociated from and accept them as crucial components to their recovery. In general, a person undergoing brainspotting for trauma and addiction will progress through five stages:

  • Stage 1: Skills Development and Stabilization
  • Stage 2: Practicing Self-Regulation of Emotions
  • Stage 3: Identifying Triggering Events for the Trauma and Addiction
  • Stage 4: Processing of the Unresolved Trauma and Associated Pain
  • Stage 5: Continued Growth Post-Trauma and Post-Addiction

Each stage will consist of its own specific steps and processes that build on each other. For example, the skills development you learn in Stage 1 helps you incorporate those into Stage 2 as you practice self-regulation of your emotions.

Furthermore, in Stage 3, as you identify triggers, you also enhance your skills development to help you stabilize each triggering event and learn various coping mechanisms. It is also worth mentioning, depending on the traumatic event and severity of your addiction, it can take some time to move through each stage.

However, not rushing through the stages will make it more likely that you will be able to overcome your trauma and be less likely to relapse into your former drug or alcohol addiction.

Who Should Try Brainspotting for Trauma and Addiction?

Anyone who has lived through an unresolved traumatic experience and has developed an addiction due to attempting to self-treat their trauma should consider trying brainspotting. To be effective, brainspotting therapy requires a commitment to honesty and transparency. Additionally, it is recommended to complete at least four to five sessions to decide if you are gaining any positive results from brainspotting therapy.

Brainspotting for Trauma and Addiction for Men in Dallas

If you are struggling with unresolved trauma and addiction and are interested in trying brainspotting, you can include it as part of your custom-tailored rehab plan at Casa Colina in Dallas. We offer a supportive environment for men with addiction and co-occurring disorders to get the help they need to start living sober. For further information about how brainspotting for trauma and addiction could benefit you, or to speak to an intake specialist, please feel free to contact us or call us today!

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