Trauma’s Role In Addiction
This presentation, by Bluefield founder Jeff Georgi, begins by emphasizing two major points about trauma:
1) That it is complicated by addiction, especially when it develops into post-traumatic stress disorder
2) That a bio/psycho/socio/spiritual/experiential model is important for understanding the causes of addiction appropriate courses of treatment, especially when complicated by the effect of traumatic events on the patient.
Trauma Manifested As Addiction
Chronic elevation of cortisol levels and decreased serotonin levels in PTSD victims can lead to heightened vulnerability to addiction. Georgi stresses the importance of integrated therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness skills that entreat the patient to observe, describe and participate as they process the symptoms of PTSD/addiction. The information is tailored to a clinical audience, but is relevant to anyone who is touched by trauma or addiction-related illness.
The impact of trauma is often seen primarily through a psychological lens. Without question, traumatic events change a student’s psychological landscape. However, trauma also changes their brain. Unfortunately, these changes, particularly if they eventually express themselves through post traumatic stress disorder, make it more likely that they will develop an addictive disorder and will make that disorder more difficult to treat.
Our students have several resources available to them in order to handle and process any traumatic events they may have encountered. Many of them picked up bad habits, such as abusing drugs and alcohol, to deal with their traumatic stress. Now that they are leading sober lives, they require new life skills to deal with trauma. Many of our patients regularly meet with Jeff Georgi and other Durham trauma and addiction specialists to help them find healthy pathways to trauma recovery. In addition, all of our students have daily mindfulness practices which can lead to better dealing with stress.