Several international studies demonstrate that the problem of drug-addiction seems to be very often correlated with complex trauma in early childhood and youth. Such as the results of the „Adverse Childhood Experiences“ study (Felitti et al., 2000) and many case histories of chronic drug addicted patients confirm.
PTSD and other trauma-associated symptoms cause a lot of psycho-physical dysregulations. So the psychiatrist Khantzian postulated already 1985 the “self-medicationhypothesis of addictive disorders”. The experience of many years working with drugaddicted people confirm this hypothesis. A high percentage is using drugs to calm down after being aggressive; to reduce strong inner tensions; to sleep without nightmares; to reduce the feeling of helplessness, depression and anxiety disorders etc.
Drugs and alcohol do reduce all the mentioned symptoms at least for a while. To learn to cope in another, more adaptive way, the addicted people need to learn alternative strategies to get a better functioning self regulation.
Therefore it is necessary to create new ways of integrative trauma therapy for chronic addicted people, so they do not need this kind of "self-medication".
The 4-Field-Technique is a special method of EMDR that was developed by Jarero et al. 1997 in Mexico after a hurricane disaster. For complex traumatized and drug addicted people this method is very helpful, because the risk to trigger other trauma clusters while processing one trauma is reduced.
Case studies will show the effectiveness of trauma therapy even with addicted people
Angelika Koshal is a psychologist and psychotherapist working in a private practice in Bonn, Germany. After her diploma 1980, she worked about 7 years in special indoor programs for drug addicted people. 1991-1993 she took part in a special scientific project initiated by the German government’s health ministry to develop a new indoor drug therapy. 2002 she started using EMDR in the psychotherapy of complex traumatized and drug addicted people, even in substitution treatment. She was invited to (inter)national conferences, such as European EMDRConferences in Hamburg 2010, Madrid 2012, and expert meetings to improve the treatment of drug addicted people.