Beginning in the 1960s when alcoholism was becoming accepted as a disease a single treatment approach to all addictions began and has been maintained to present day; treat the addiction as primary and consider other conditions (psychological) as secondary by adhering to attending support groups as AA and working the 12 Step Program.
Our approach adheres to the immediate need for sobriety and its maintenance, and supports the traditional methods to achieve this. However, during the past 25 years research is validating what many of us therapists who treat addictions have experienced, that in the majority of cases there is underlying trauma, the pain of which is alleviated by use of a mood altering substance or activity. We have found that processing the trauma reduces the need for maladaptive coping mechanisms including substance abuse or process addictions, such as gaming, porn, love/sex, cutting, eating, etc. Trauma events vary and include sexual abuse. physical/verbal abuse, abandonment, neglect, separation from certain family members — all stressors that may change how we feel about ourselves and can lead to addiction and other self-destructive behaviors.
Through trauma work we help our clients learn to understand that their behaviors do not define who they are; they are coping measures used to survive. As the treatment process unfolds layers of shame and guilt begin to melt away as clients commit themselves to a different way of life.
Trauma Addiction Services is an intensive out patient approach involving the following treatment procedures:
- A psychological evaluation to determine the nature and structure of one’s personality and the presence of co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, or perceptual disturbances.
- Clinical interviewing of identified client plus collateral interviewing of friends and family members, if possible. This interviewing, plus the psychological evaluation, is for the purpose of completing a thorough assessment of substance abuse and the nature and severity of possible life trauma.
- If an addiction is active referral for detox, begin support group assistance, plus immediate individual therapy.
- Intense individual therapy with client 3 times per week initially. Meditation and relaxation therapy will be utilized.
- Family therapy as warranted and with consent of client, unless client is a minor.
- Group therapy as a client is personally ready.
- Educational, learning how unresolved trauma and sustained use of a mood altering drug, or a process addiction like gaming, pornography, or eating affect brain chemistry in ways that perpetuates the re-living of trauma, and the need for drug stimulation until therapeutic intervention.
- Have you ever been prescribed pain medication for an injury and realized that you wanted to keep taking them because of the emotional relief they gave from the pain of past hurt, trauma, and help with poor sleep and anxiety.
- Have you ever engaged in a Process Addiction like gaming, eating, sex/love, porn, gambling, shopping to be distracted from the agony within?
- Have you ever used alcohol more regularly to numb the feeling of depression, anxiety, feelings of wanting to die?
- Have you ever tried to meet your innate need for connection by joining others in their use of stimulants, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, Adder all?
Q & A
Recent research is demonstrating conclusively the co-existence of addiction and trauma.
What appears to be an addiction to a mood altering drug such as alcohol, marijuana, and opiates like heroin is actually an addiction to the experience of pain relief, that may have begun with childhood trauma. It is a fact that approximately 90% of people who are prescribed opiates, who drink alcohol socially, or who experiment with various drugs like cocaine never get addicted. The best example is when the troops came home from Vietnam; 95% of them who had used heroin regularly just quit, no treatment needed.