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Resolution for trauma victims available

Health Point


October 13, 2011
Dear Jeff and Debra,

Our 38-year-old daughter had a lot of problems with drinking and prescription drugs. She's been through treatment, but doesn't like going to 12-Step meetings. She seems isolated and keeps relapsing.

She was involved in a terribly traumatic series of events some years ago and we think these things are still weighing on her. Is there any specific treatment for trauma?

Concerned Parents

Dear Concerned,

We often see trauma occurring with addiction and at a higher rate in female patients. Resolving the trauma won't make the addiction go away, but ignoring or leaving it untreated is a recipe for relapse.

We have found Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy to be very effective in helping patients resolve trauma and other issues. It helps patients process the events fully and privately, so they can move on with recovery and their lives. James Loffredo is an expert in this model.

He explained this eight-phase approach, which helps clients address a wide range of issues, was developed in the late 1980s to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other traumatic experiences.

Treatment includes "dual stimulation," which includes using bilateral eye movements, tones and taps. During this reprocessing phase, clients visit past experiences, present triggers, or future experiences while focusing on the external bilateral stimulation.

By using the eight-phase approach and dual stimulation, clients rapidly reprocess the disturbing experience. It does not erase the experience nor does the client forget it. In most cases, it reduces or eliminates the psychological pain.

This treatment can also be used to assist patients through the stages of change rapidly and typically requires clients and their families to participate in two 8-hour sessions on consecutive days. It is very intense work, but the outcomes have been extremely rewarding.

One of the stumbling blocks to clients entering long-term recovery is unresolved trauma and a fear of connecting with others. The best way to treat the disease of addiction is through the support of 12-Step fellowships. Many patients are not able to engage the fellowships or were terrified to enter a meeting due to past experiences. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing helps them resolve barriers that may keep them engaged in the12 step fellowships and work on their long-term recovery.

The Jays are the authors "Love First" and can be reached at lovefirst.net or by calling (313) 882-6921.

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Jeff Jay and Debra Jay are the authors of "Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction," and Debra Jay is the author of "No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction." Jeff and Debra Jay are professional interventionists who live in Grosse Pointe Farms. They may be contacted with your questions at (313) 882-6921 or at lovefirst.net.
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