Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trauma and substance abuse

Dr. Sandra Bloom wrote a very interesting article which appeared in the American Psychotherapy review in July of 2000 entitled, "Double Trouble: The Perils of Substance Abuse and PTSD."

Dr. Bloom's main point is the high association between trauma and substance abuse and other personal and social problems. She writes in part:

"Approximately 50 - 60% of women and 20% of men in chemical dependency recovery programs report having been victims of childhood sexual abuse. Approximately 69% of women and 80% of men in such programs report being victims of child physical abuse."
Dr.Bloom goes on to cite other very interesting statistics which demonstrate the relationship between abuse and later life problems then she writes:

"Taken together, these research results have staggering implications for drug policy. First of all it means that any approach replicating the 'Just Say No" slogan
of the 1980s is not going to work. Among the most severely addicted substance abusers are people who are so overwhelmed by the physiological impact of prolonged exposure to violence, that sobriety is very unlikely without a great deal of help beginning in childhood. It means that lecturing children on the dangers of substance abuse is not going to be an antidote for drug abuse to the most damaged and most damaging of those children. Approaches that focus on criminal justice alone are not likely to be very helpful."

GCASA offers a great deal of specialized programming for women, adolescents, children, and adults involved in the criminal justice system. While abstinence and harm reduction are important treatment goals, GCASA staff is well aware that substance abuse is often a symptom of problems as well as being the presenting problem itself.

No comments: