Trauma Theory and Trauma-Informed Care in Substance Use Disorders: A Conceptual Model for Integrating Coping and Resilience

Revital Goodman


National data of children’s exposure to traumatic experiences are alarming. Research asserts the interconnectedness between experiencing childhood trauma (CT) or adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and developing substance use disorders (SUDs) in later adulthood. Trauma definition and contemporary trauma theory (CTT) provide the foundation for trauma informed care (TIC) in social work practice with co-occurring trauma and SUDs. TIC re-conceptualizes SUDs as a mechanism to cope with the effects of trauma. Coping and resilience are relevant factors to the ramifications of CT on SUDs, and are the manifestation of key TIC principles. Integrating TIC practices aimed at enhancing coping and resilience into treatment for co-occurring trauma and SUDs is needed in order to negate the devastating impact of trauma and propel recovery. Conclusions and implications to social work practice are discussed. 



Childhood-trauma; ACE; TIC; substance use disorders; coping; resilience

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