Focussing on Trauma in Addiction Treatment

alcohol and trauma

A new report by the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) says addiction treatment services should address the underlying causes of addiction.

The BBC reported that “alternatives to methadone, including residential rehabilitation, should be made more widely available.”

This report is welcome as it draws attention to the complexity of the illness of addiction and the corresponding need for skilful and holistic treatment.

It is right to point out that treating a drug addict’s traumatic past may be a critical factor in their chances of recovery, but why stop there?  The complete psychological and physical health of those suffering from addictive diseases ought to become the concern of Scottish treatment services.

It is encouraging to see that this report also draws attention to the more complex needs of those who have a history of trauma. In particular, the report highlights the appropriateness of the stable environment provided by residential rehabilitation.

Castle Craig has been treating addicted people who have a history of trauma for 25 years. Eight years ago we set up one of the first inpatient trauma programmes in Scotland.  But the sad fact is that the addition of a comprehensive trauma programme to our services has coincided with a fall in referrals from Scottish addiction services.

The benefits of residential rehabilitation for patients with a trauma history are substantial.   A programme such as ours at Castle Craig offers a full and continuous assessment  from a multi-disciplinary team, led by specialists and consultant psychiatrists.

Our model of inpatient treatment also offers the “high quality effective psychological therapies” that the SDF report called for and it offers the supportive community environment, the “time and the space” and the security that is so conducive to a successful treatment outcome.

*

For a deeper insight into trauma, see this 10 minute video on trauma therapy.