Many people who experience problems with substance use and/or their mental health have experienced trauma. Trauma as a result of childhood abuse, disasters, war or sexual violence, to name a few, can be a factor in someone developing mental health problems such as anxiety, mood, sleep or personality disorders or problems with relationships, addiction and compulsive behaviours.
Addressing a history of trauma is often key to addressing complex mental health and substance use problems that do not respond well to traditional treatment, and yet past traumatic experiences are often not considered by clients or the service providers when addressing present difficulties. More information is available on this website on screening for substance use and mental health issues, including a section on trauma sensitivity.
An overview of different types of psychological trauma and their effects is followed by a summary of treatment approaches, including simple and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some special issues in trauma treatment are explored, including treating trauma and substance use and working with specific populations such as immigrants and refugees who may have experienced war or disaster in their countries of origin. Links to additional resources, overviews, client materials and in-depth discussions of topics are also provided.