The link between exposure to trauma and addiction has been well established.
The relationship between trauma and substance abuse seems to be particularly strong for teens who also struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Studies indicate that almost 60% of teens with PTSD subsequently develop substance abuse problems.
Why would there be such a strong relationship between substance abuse and PTSD? The most obvious answer is that people who suffer with the emotional dysregulation associated with PTSD are trying to self-medicate in an effort to cope with these life disrupting symptoms.
Mending Fences subscribes to a trauma-informed approach to treatment and employs supervising staff who have quite literally treated thousands of clients who have survived traumatic life events. We agree with and subscribe to the following principles outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration (www.samhsa.gov).
According to SAMHSA’s concept of a trauma-informed approach, “A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”
SAMHSA’s trauma-informed approach reflects adherence to six key principles rather than a prescribed set of practices or procedures.:
- Trustworthiness and transparency
- Peer support
- Collaboration and mutuality
- Empowerment, voice and choice
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender IssuesFrom SAMHSA’s perspective, it is critical to promote the linkage to recovery and resilience for those individuals and families impacted by trauma. Consistent with SAMHSA’s definition of recovery, services and supports that are trauma-informed build on the best evidence available and consumer and family engagement, empowerment, and collaboration.