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September 21, 2021 60 mins
Research shows that among people seeking treatment for Substance Use Disorders, lifetime PTSD rates range from 30 to over 60%. This is a complicated group that tends to have worse outcomes when compared to either disorder alone. Dr. Lisa Najavits, world renowned expert in PTSD and Trauma Treatment discusses her award-winning, innovative treatment manual Seeking Safety, which treats PTSD and Substance Use Disorders concurrently. Dr. Najavits discusses the common myth that treatment needs to focus on the past, on the painful retelling of the trauma story and the intense re-experiencing of feelings associated with the trauma. She says this myth deters many people from seeking trauma treatment. Her manual is present-focused and teaches coping skills that help people manage PTSD symptoms, cope with cravings and take back their personal power that was lost through the trauma and the addiction. Seeking Safety offers 25 different topics, promoting both relationship skills and individual skills. These topics include Detaching From Emotional Pain, Compassion, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Asking for Help, Coping with Triggers, Finding Meaning and Safe Self Nurturing. Dr. Najavits goes into depth as she explains some of the grounding exercises (physical, mental and soothing grounding) that help people detach from emotional pain. She offers some simple, practical and portable skills that give people the ability to shift their emotional state at any moment. Dr. Najavits offers hope to those suffering from comorbid PTSD and Substance Use Disorders, encouraging them to stay in the present moment and focus on what you can do now, today, in the present moment. You can create a new story for yourself and find a sense of meaning and purpose moving forward... This, she says, is an antidote to trauma and addiction.
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