Understanding Trauma and Finding Healing at Continuum Outpatient Center

Explore trauma, its links to addiction, and discover healing at Continuum Outpatient Center. Your journey to tailored care and support starts here.

What is Trauma?

Trauma refers to a psychological or emotional response to an event or a series of events that are disturbing or harmful. These events are often extremely distressing or life-threatening and can have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.

Trauma can result from a variety of experiences, including but not limited to:

  • Physical injury or illness: Trauma can result from accidents, injuries, or serious illnesses that threaten a person’s life or well-being.
  • Emotional or psychological stress: Events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or other significant losses can be traumatic and lead to emotional distress.
  • Violence or abuse: Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can cause severe trauma, especially when experienced over an extended period.
  • Natural disasters: Being exposed to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, can lead to traumatic stress.
  • Combat experiences: Military personnel may experience trauma as a result of combat situations and exposure to life-threatening events.
  • Accidents or witnessing traumatic events: Witnessing or being involved in accidents, terrorist attacks, or other violent incidents can also be traumatic.

Types of Trauma

Trauma can manifest in various forms, and it is often categorized based on the nature of the experience. Here are some common types of trauma:

Acute Trauma

This refers to a single, short-term traumatic event or a series of events that occur within a relatively short time frame. Examples include accidents, natural disasters, or one-time acts of violence. Acute trauma can have immediate and intense effects on an individual’s well-being.

Chronic Trauma

This involves prolonged exposure to traumatic stressors over an extended period. This type of trauma often occurs in situations where individuals face ongoing threats, abuse, or adversity, such as in cases of long-term domestic violence, prolonged illness, or extended exposure to combat situations.

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma describes exposure to multiple and varied traumatic experiences, often of an interpersonal nature, over an extended period, particularly during critical developmental stages. 

Complex trauma is commonly associated with situations like childhood abuse or neglect. It can have profound and lasting effects on a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being.


What Are the Symptoms of Trauma?

Trauma can manifest in various ways, both emotionally and physically. Some common symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Flashbacks: Reliving the traumatic event through vivid memories, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the trauma.
  • Negative changes in mood and thinking: Feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless, or guilty.
  • Changes in behavior: Difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or connecting with others.
  • Physical symptoms: Fatigue, headaches, stomachaches, or changes in appetite.

Risk Factors of Trauma

Various risk factors can increase the likelihood of trauma in an individual. It’s important to note that the presence of these risk factors does not guarantee that someone will experience trauma, but they can contribute to an increased susceptibility.

Common risk factors include:

Previous Trauma

Individuals who have experienced trauma in the past may be more vulnerable to subsequent traumatic events. The impact of previous trauma can influence how a person copes with and responds to new challenges.

Childhood Adversity

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction, can increase the risk of trauma later in life. Early exposure to trauma can have lasting effects on mental and emotional well-being.

Mental Health Conditions

Pre-existing mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, can heighten vulnerability to trauma. These conditions may impact an individual’s ability to cope with stressors.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse or dependence can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of risky behaviors, increasing the risk of accidents, violence, and exposure to traumatic events.

Socioeconomic Factors

Individuals living in poverty or facing economic instability may be more exposed to environmental stressors, including crime and community violence, which can contribute to trauma.

Lack of Social Support

A lack of supportive relationships and social connections can leave individuals more vulnerable to the impact of trauma. Social support is crucial for coping and resilience.

Cultural and Societal Factors

Cultural and societal norms, discrimination, or systemic issues can contribute to increased vulnerability to trauma, especially for marginalized or minority populations.

How Trauma Can Lead to Addiction

Individuals who have experienced trauma may be at a higher risk of developing substance abuse issues. Here are some ways in which trauma can contribute to the development of addiction:

Coping Mechanism

Individuals who have experienced trauma may turn to substances as a way to cope with the emotional and psychological distress caused by traumatic events. Substance use can provide a temporary escape or numbness from painful memories and feelings.


Some people may use drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication to alleviate symptoms of trauma-related conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Substance use can be a way for individuals to escape from the overwhelming emotions associated with trauma. It provides a temporary relief from the pain, fear, or anxiety they may be experiencing.

Impaired Decision-Making

Trauma can impact cognitive functions and decision-making abilities. Individuals may engage in impulsive behaviors, such as substance abuse, as a result of trauma-related changes in the brain.

Social Isolation

Trauma can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. In the absence of strong social support, individuals may turn to substances to fill the void and cope with feelings of loneliness and alienation.

Biological Factors

Trauma can affect the brain’s reward system and stress response. Changes in neurobiology may make individuals more susceptible to the reinforcing effects of substances, contributing to the development of addiction.

Repetition of Trauma

Some individuals unconsciously reenact or repeat traumatic experiences through risky behaviors, including substance abuse. This may be a way of trying to regain control or make sense of the traumatic events.

Risk-Taking Behavior

Trauma can lead to increased impulsivity and risk-taking behavior. Substance use may be one manifestation of these behaviors, as individuals seek excitement or distraction from emotional pain.

Cycle of Addiction

Substance abuse can create a cycle of addiction that becomes difficult to break. As the negative consequences of addiction accumulate, they can exacerbate feelings of shame, guilt, and hopelessness, further perpetuating the cycle.

Finding Treatment for Trauma at Continuum Outpatient Center

At Continuum Outpatient Center, our dedicated team understands the profound impact that trauma can have on individuals, and we are committed to providing comprehensive and personalized trauma treatment at our outpatient center in San Antonio, Texas. 

Our approach is rooted in evidence-based practices and tailored to the unique needs of each individual seeking support.

Comprehensive Assessment

We begin with a thorough assessment to gain a deep understanding of an individual’s experiences and challenges. This allows us to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses each person’s specific needs and goals.

Trauma-Informed Care

We prioritize creating a safe and supportive environment for healing. Our trauma-informed care approach ensures that every aspect of our services is sensitive to the impact of trauma. We recognize the importance of trust, collaboration, and empowerment in the healing process.

Specialized Therapeutic Modalities

Our experienced therapists utilize evidence-based therapeutic modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). 

These approaches are designed to address the emotional and cognitive aspects of trauma, fostering resilience and coping skills.

Holistic Treatment Approach

We believe in a holistic approach to trauma treatment. In addition to traditional psychotherapy, we incorporate mindfulness-based practices, expressive therapies, and body-centered approaches to promote overall well-being.

Group Support

Our group therapy sessions provide a supportive community where individuals can share their experiences, gain insights, and build connections with others on a similar journey. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of belonging and reduces feelings of isolation.

Medication Management

In collaboration with our experienced psychiatric team, we may incorporate medication management when appropriate. Our goal is to alleviate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disturbances to enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan.

Culturally Competent Care

We recognize and honor the diversity of our clients. Our team is committed to providing culturally competent care that respects individual backgrounds, values, and beliefs.

Ongoing Support and Aftercare

Continuum Outpatient Center is dedicated to long-term well-being. Our support doesn’t end when therapy sessions conclude. We offer ongoing support and aftercare services to ensure a smooth transition as individuals continue their journey to healing.

Transformation Through Our 12-Week Trauma Recovery Curriculum

Embark on a transformative journey tailored to address trauma and its interconnected impact on substance use with our specialized 12-week trauma recovery curriculum. 

Each week is meticulously crafted to guide individuals through essential themes, empowering them with skills, insights, and resilience for enduring recovery. Here’s a glimpse into our trauma-focused 12-week curriculum:

Week 1 – The Four Agreements

In the first week, we lay a robust groundwork for your trauma recovery journey by introducing “The Four Agreements.” 

This holistic approach blends evidence-based treatments with transformative healing techniques, fostering reliability and trust as you progress towards a future of resilience and well-being.

Week 2 – Brain Works

Week two delves into the intricacies of the mind, unveiling the impact of trauma on brain function. We guide you in understanding your unique cognitive responses to trauma, empowering you on your path to lasting well-being.

Week 3 – Human Relationships

This week allows you to explore the profound impact of trauma on interpersonal connections. Learn essential strategies to initiate the healing process and rebuild fractured relationships, fostering a path towards restoration and connection.

Week 4 –Trauma and Growth

Week four is dedicated to unraveling the intricate connection between trauma and substance use. Equip yourself with skills to conquer past traumas, establishing a sturdy foundation for long-term success in your recovery journey.

Week 5 – Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Basics

Empower yourself in our DBT Basics module to embrace the present, manage stress healthily, and repair strained relationships. Learn essential skills from dialectical behavior therapy for a more mindful and fulfilling life on your journey to recovery.

Week 6 – Emotional IQ

Focus on enhancing emotional intelligence in our Emotional IQ module. These skills empower you in stress relief, effective communication, empathy, overcoming challenges, and conflict resolution, proving invaluable in the early stages of recovery.

Week 7 – Mindfulness

Week seven emphasizes the intricate link between mind and body, enabling you to immerse yourself fully in the present moment. Cultivate a state of being where you remain present without feeling overwhelmed, laying the foundation for transformative recovery.

Week 8 – Life Skills

Address how substance use and mental health disorders may overshadow crucial aspects of life in our Life Skills module. Discover practical skills that pave the way to reclaiming control and building a fulfilling, sustainable future.

Week 9 – Relapse Prevention

In week nine, identify stressors and triggers that fueled substance use due to trauma. Through tailored skills and techniques, empower yourself to steer clear of triggers or effectively cope with them, ensuring a robust defense against relapse.

Week 10 – Balance and Boundaries

Dedicate time to imparting essential skills of setting healthy boundaries and finding balance in your life. These pivotal abilities play a key role in achieving lasting success in your recovery journey.

Week 11 – Self-Care

Recognize the toll that mental health and substance use disorders can take on your body and mind. Emphasize self-care to guide you in reclaiming balance, allowing your mind and body to embark on a transformative journey towards wellness.

Week 12 – Family Roles

Explore essential skills to initiate the healing process and sustain healthy relationships with family and loved ones. Foster a supportive and nurturing environment on your journey to recovery, addressing the strains and fractures that substance use and mental health disorders may impose on family relationships.

Tailored Recovery Plans for Your Trauma Recovery Journey at Continuum Outpatient Center

Discover flexibility in your trauma recovery journey with Continuum Outpatient Center and our premier intensive outpatient program (IOP) for trauma and substance use disorders in San Antonio, Texas. 

Our structured schedule includes:

  • Daytime IOP: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Evening IOP: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Telehealth Options: Available for added accessibility.

Choose the timing that aligns with your lifestyle as we guide you towards a path of trauma recovery and enduring well-being. We also have a partial hospitalization program.

Join Us on the Path to Healing

At Continuum Outpatient Center, we are not just a treatment facility; we are partners in your journey to healing. Together, we will navigate the complexities of trauma, uncovering the resilience within. 

Embark on your journey to recovery by visiting us at 6200 UTSA Blvd., Ste. 102, San Antonio, Texas, 78249. You can also call us at (210) 405-5935. Your commitment to recovery is met with our dedicated guidance, paving the way for a future filled with hope and resilience.