Recent research has demonstrated that drugs and alcohol alter brain chemistry. (drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain). Long periods of drug and alcohol dependence change the brain’s ability to function and leads to depression and anxiety. Drugs and alcohol tamper with the pleasure center of the brain and the “rewards system” associated with brain functioning. Because drugs and alcohol send messages to the brain of pleasure, Berni Fried believes the brain then reads the stimulation as positive. This affect sets up the user to crave and continue the drug or alcohol use repeatedly, hence -- the addictive behavior. An established veteran in the practice of psychotherapy, Berni Fried, continues to research and advance her skills in the practice of psychotherapy. In this brief Q & A, Berni Fried discusses how addiction can cause significant damage to brain function.
Q: Why is professional treatment necessary for individuals who are dealing with addiction and trauma?
Berni Fried: People who are struggling with Trauma often turn to drugs and Alcohol as a “maladaptive coping mechanism.” Drugs and Alcohol can seemingly help to numb or quell intrusive thoughts and feelings associated with a history of Trauma. Anxiety and Depression are often a result of people who have a history of trauma; Addiction is often the only coping skill to help the person seemingly function. Untreated trauma leads to alcohol or drug cravings as a way to escape the unbearable feelings related to PTSD. Professional intervention by using techniques like EMDR or AEDP help the client to foster a sense of safety and eventual change.