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Cultivating a Trauma Awareness Culture in the Addictions

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Evdokia Missouridou   Pages 99 - 105 ( 7 )

Abstract:


Background: Research evidence points to the high prevalence of trauma exposure and post traumatic stress among addicted individuals, their families and the professionals responsible for their treatment.

Objective: The purpose of this review is to enhance understanding of the continuing effects of trauma and its impact on the lives of people with addiction problems as well as on the professionals who strive to provide support and care for them.

Method: Review of twenty eight articles on traumatic experiences in individuals and families facing addiction problems as well as on traumatic stress in addiction professionals. Eligibility criteria were: publication in a peer-reviewed journal dating from 1990 to present; articles written in the English language; quantitative or qualitative design aiming to explore the lived experience of trauma and the recovery process from it.

Results: It is argued that for service providers to be able to help patients restore purpose and meaning in the recovery process, it is important to be aware of the trauma dynamics implicated in the long history of the addiction problems. Professionals’ difficulty to process their emotions may lead to disengagement or overinvolvement and the adoption of maladaptive roles. Strong and unexpected emotional reactions in the professional may be a clue to the presence of masked trauma.

Conclusion: Ongoing training on trauma dynamics, self-care and clinical supervision may deepen professionals’ understanding of the impact of trauma on their work culture and protect them from the risk of secondary traumatic stress.

Keywords:

Addiction, families, post-traumatic stress disorder, professionals, secondary post-traumatic stress, trauma.

Affiliation:

Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute, Athens



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