Trauma

 

Research — and experience — point to trauma as being one of the primary reasons people turn to drug use.  My patients, most of whom experienced childhood trauma that led to a lifetime of drug use, point to the memory of the event(s) as the factor that contributed to initial and continued drug use.  I believe that recovery is very difficult to achieve and maintain unless this memory is addressed and dealt with once and for all.

Cognitive Confrontation, the intervention I developed to address these memories, works well for about 70% of my patients.  They describe the memory as a recurring loop that plays repeatedly in their minds and which interferes with their ability to achieve success in life.  Self-confidence is reduced and individuals tend to see themselves as victims their entire lives — always at the mercy of others just as they were at the mercy of someone else when they were kids.  I help them deal with the impact of this trauma by helping them escape the memory loop — by helping them find their Hidden Door.

This is a cognitive intervention that takes only 15 minutes so is ideal for the homeless patients I work with.  It is amazing when someone opens their eyes after the intervention and ask, “What did you do?  I feel lighter.  It’s gone!”  As one 67 year old man said, “I never had a day go by without thinking about what happened to me as a kid.  Last night I had my first good night’s sleep in my life. Now, I don’t think about it any more.”  And I love telling the story about one of my patients who would never engage in treatment but who one day made the decision to talk.  He stopped using drugs in 3 months and returned to work.  He lost the job after one day because he lost his temper and hit one of the bosses.  He came in the next day, saying, “Hey, Dr. Howard.  I think I might need my psych meds, too.”
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