Does trauma cause substance abuse or does substance abuse cause trauma? If you or someone you know is the victim, it really doesn’t matter. The real issue is finding an integrated drug treatment program that focuses on how to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. At Cornerstone Recovery Center, we provide a drug treatment therapy called Seeking Safety to help client suffering from a trauma or PTSD and a substance abuse disorder.

Surviving the Trauma Epidemic

If asked about the origins of trauma and substance abuse, most people would say that trauma precedes substance abuse and addiction. For the most part, they would be right, when you consider how many of us have experienced some form of trauma – violence, domestic violence, rape, military combat, automobile and industrial accidents, life-threatening illness and natural disasters. In this sense, trauma is epidemic and touches almost everyone. But there are also many situations when people who are operating cars or machinery under the influence can be involved in traumatic events. So the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma remains.

Depending on one’s own genetic and psychological makeup, PTSD may last for weeks, months or years. When co-occurring trauma and substance abuse are present, an integrated drug treatment approach, such as Seeking Safety, could be the best approach.

What Is Seeking Safety?

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based model for treatment of co-occurring trauma, substance abuse and addiction. It can be applied in an individual or group setting. This approach was developed over a ten-year period beginning in the early 1990’s under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Clinical experience and research studies informed revisions of the manual, resulting in the final published version in 2002.

Basically, “evidence based,” has its origins in the medical/clinical environment and spread into allied health professions, education and other fields.  It indicates an approach that integrates three principles:(1) the best available research evidence bearing on whether and why a treatment works, (2) clinical expertise (clinical judgment and experience) to rapidly identify each patient’s unique state of health and diagnosis, and  (3) client preferences and values (in an effort to keep it relevant and motivating).

What’s So Safe about Seeking Safety?

What distinguishes Seeking Safety from other co-occurring treatment programs is that this approach is extremely positive and does not ask victims to go back to their traumatic incident (Kind of an anti-progression therapy approach, which takes clients back to the trauma.) Seeking Safety was designed to provide coping skills for those who may have never developed them or forgot them along the way. The program’s main theme is empowering clients to have faith and showing them that safety is key to the “Installation of Hope.” To this end, clients are presented with a series of topics, such as Honesty, Creating Meaning, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Taking Good Care of Yourself, Compassion, Coping with Triggers, Healing from Anger, and Recovery Thinking.

While structured, the program is flexible in the sequencing of topics. They must also be relevant and motivating to the victim of trauma and substance abuse, as this is an important pillar of this program. Each topic incorporates the following components:
Quote, Self-Assessment, Reading, and Evaluation Assignment, and is focused on the here and now.

At the end of the day, “safety” is a deep concept with various layers of meaning, including the following:

  • Safety of the client as they do the work.
  • Helping clients envision what safety would look and feel like in their lives.
  • Helping them learn specific new ways of coping without a dependence on drugs or alcohol.
“I liked the chapter on Discovery because it reminds me of what my father used to always tell me, “You never know until you try.” — Nicole V.

Who Can Benefit from Seeking Safety?

Clinical research shows that Seeking Safety is effective for virtually anyone trying to cope with trauma and substance abuse. This includes males and females, adolescents, military and veterans; homeless people; survivors of domestic violence; criminal justice and racially/ethically diverse populations; clients with cognitive or reading impairments (including mild traumatic brain injury); people who are seriously and persistently mentally ill; individuals with behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling; active substance users; and clients in all levels of care, including outpatient, residential, inpatient, community care and private practice.

“I have learned how to do physical grounding techniques in Seeking Safety. Whenever I feel stressed I have started to just look down at my feet to remind me that this is where I am at and this is the only moment that I can control.” — Hannah S.

Get Started Safely with Cornerstone.

Cornerstone Recovery Center, specializing in the treatment of trauma, PTSD or a major depressive disorder, is your safe place to receive real and effective treatment that will help you live your best life. Please contact our admissions counselor online or call 888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.