Seeking Safety

Crisis and Trauma Counseling

Seeking Safety: Trauma Group for Recovery

A complicating factor for many who struggle with addiction disorders is the presence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other trauma-related mental health disorders. Because these conditions occur together frequently, Northland offers a program designed specifically for this type of dual diagnosis.

Seeking Safety is a trauma group based on an integrative treatment approach developed specifically for co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse. For persons with this prevalent and difficult to treat dual diagnosis, the most urgent clinical need is to establish safety — to work toward discontinuing substance use, letting go of dangerous relationships, and gaining control over such extreme symptoms as dissociation and self-harm.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use 

Mental health disorders and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand. Individuals who have lived through traumatic events, including war veterans or survivors of violence or abuse, live with fear and anxiety because of events they have experienced. After trying to cope with the mental anguish with which they live, many may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their mind. This can result in dependence and addiction, and the person is caught in an endless cycle of trying to get clean, but then being confronted by fear and not knowing where to turn for relief except back to drugs and alcohol.

The PTSD that is part of a dual diagnosis is not always the cause of addiction. Sometimes it is the result of or occurs along with, substance use. Unhealthy and violent relationships, street violence, and dangerous and risky behavior can all accompany drug addiction and alcoholism, and many people who are addicted to drugs are unable to care for their own safety, putting them at further risk for traumatic events.

PTSD and Addiction Statistics

PTSD and addiction often occur together. Below are several statistics that demonstrate just how frequently this happens:

  • People who suffer from PTSD are between two and four times more likely to battle addiction than their peers who do not struggle with PTSD, according to the journal Clinical Psychology
  • One-half to two-thirds of people with addictions suffer from PTSD concurrently or have in the past, and about the same proportion of people with PTSD also have substance use disorders, according to researchers at National Drug and Alcohol Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
  • More than 2 of 10 Veterans with PTSD also have a substance abuse disorder (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Almost 1 out of every 3 Veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

For individuals with a co-occurring substance use disorder and PTSD, simultaneous treatment is necessary. Counseling and therapy are part of the healing process for both disorders, and recovery occurs when the individual begins to understand the disorders, process the traumatic events, and develop tools to protect their safety and deal with stressful situations in the future.

Northland offers specialized care to those struggling with co-occurring disorders of PTSD and substance addiction. Called Seeking Safety, this group provides a secure space for individuals to talk with others who are going through similar experiences and receive guidance to help them release the past and face the future.

By gaining insight into trauma, participants can learn to work through and overcome the effects these events have had on their lives. The Seeking Safety group is designed to increase awareness for the importance of sharing client stories to assist with addressing the guilt, shame, resentment, anger, and hopelessness that can trigger substance abuse.

Seeking Safety Program At Northland

The Seeking Safety trauma group at Northland is divided into 25 specific topics, addressing a range of cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal domains. Each topic provides highly practical tools and techniques designed to engage patients in treatment; teach “safe coping skills” that apply to both disorders; restore ideals that have been lost, including respect, care, protection, and healing.

The key principles of Seeking Safety:

1)  Safety as the overarching goal (helping clients attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions)

2)  Integrated treatment (working on both trauma and substance abuse at the same time)

3)  A focus on ideals to counteract the loss of ideals in both trauma and substance abuse

4)  Four content areas: cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, case management

5)  Attention to clinician processes (clinicians’ emotional responses, self-care, etc.)

Northland is an outpatient treatment facility located in Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. We are the premier provider of physician directed addiction treatment in the area, and our facility treats individuals from all walks of life in a comfortable and confidential setting. Contact us today to learn more about our programming.

25 topics of Seeking Safety:

  • Introduction/Case Management
  • Safety
  • PTSD: Taking Back Your Power
  • When Substances Control You
  • Honesty
  • Asking for Help
  • Setting Boundaries in Relationships
  • Getting Others to Support Your Recovery
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Community Resources
  • Compassion
  • Creating Meaning
  • Discovery
  • Integrating the Split Self
  • Recovery Thinking
  • Taking Good Care of Yourself
  • Commitment
  • Respecting Your Time
  • Coping with Triggers
  • Self-Nurturing
  • Red and Green Flags
  • Healing from Anger
  • Detaching from Emotional Pain (Grounding)
  • Life Choices
  • Termination

Crisis intervention is designed to help the person deal with the immediate distressing issue they are facing in a way that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.