The Link Between Trauma and Substance Use: Raising Counsellor Awareness

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Butler, Graham
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There is a clear link between trauma and addiction, which is elucidated by a body of research going back several decades. As our understanding of the nature of trauma and substance use disorders (SUDs) has evolved over time, this link and the reasons for it have become clearer. Despite high rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for clients entering treatment for SUDs, it appears that counsellors are often poorly equipped to work with these clients, and that assessment for PTSD is not a uniform practice. The purpose of this research is to raise counsellor awareness and to provide counsellors with updated information on the link between trauma and addictions, the causal factors involved, and evidence-based interventions and resources for managing both issues concurrently. In this capstone project I have summarized and organized current research to create a workshop for counsellors. This workshop offers an updated overview of the subject, complete with current best practices for counsellors to use with clients that have a history of trauma and are working to recover from a substance abuse disorder.
substance use disorder , post-traumatic stress disorder , PTSD , concurrent disorders , comorbidity , integrated treatment