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The Promise of Serenity

The Trident Foundation offers screening, education and liaison linked to addictive bahaviours, including those that are associated with drugs, alcohol, gambling and the Internet. Individuals, couples and families may experience stress, or even trauma, and they could try to self-soothe or punish themselves though substance abuse and other addictions. The impact of “dis-ease” is often biological and affective and these and other factors have an influence upon human society (Williams & Poijula, 2002). The Health and Safety Executive (as cited in the UK National Work-Stress Network, 2006, p. 1) defines stress as the “…adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them”. Stress can have positive or negative dimensions (Williams & Poijula, 2002), contributing to individuals preserving the lives of others, or taking life.

Williams and Sommer (1999, p. 240) suggest that “vicarious traumatization”, “secondary trauma”, “compassion fatigue”, “event countertransference” and “burnout” are all terms linked with varying reactions and forms of secondary stress. The scope of traumatology has increased with the addition of “Vicarious Traumatisation” (Steed & Downing, 1998). According to Reber (1985, p. 736) stress is linked to individuals experiencing “…physical, psychological and social forces and pressures”. Individual’s self-concept might become damaged. Under distressing or traumatising conditions, they may become involved in self-reproach through the obsessive use of food and other substances. These self-destructive patterns also reflect another form of self- harming behaviours induced through heightened stress – namely substance abuse (Herman, 1997).

Herman (1997, p. 44) mentions that traumatised individuals might become addicted to “alcohol or other drugs” and Pearlman and Saakvitne (1995) mention that they could become workaholics. Kottler (2001b) asserts that distressed individuals may seek to control others in an attempt to develop a sense of equilibrium in their personal and social lives. In 
addition, distressed individuals to 
deaden emotional responses may use nicotine.

Individuals might misuse such substances as cocaine, [P] pure metamphetamine, or alcohol with the misguided belief, that these will lessen their distress. This may occur because they do not practice adequate care of themselves. Alcohol might act as a temporary soother to lessen the effects of heightened stress upon them. Individuals can be especially susceptible to distress and trauma due to their having substance abuse histories. To address addictive behaviours and thoughts strategies might need to be both comprehensive and broad as is indicated in the checklist below (Geary, 2008).

Citations to the literature that is mentioned here are available upon request. The Trident Foundation is only an email or a phone call away to access support for your problematic, for example, behaviours and thoughts.

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