Understanding Addiction

Maia Szalavitz, author of Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, explores effective interventions in coping and supporting someone diagnosed with addiction. An interview, conducted by Caroline McGraw, takes readers through a journey with Szalavitz to explore effective and appropriate approaches to work with those suffering from the disease of addiction. Throughout Szalavitz’s book, she challenges traditional addiction approaches including 12-step programs, interventions and what we call, tough love. Although these approaches may work for many, this is not a method that works for the majority of people who are seeking help. Instead, empathy is removed and the belief of treating the compulsive behavior is sufficient.

What many of these approaches do not consider is that two-thirds of people with addiction suffer from some sort of trauma. As Stephanie Zeman, Clinical Director of The Kraft Group Inc., agrees that trauma is an alteration in a person’s life path, which that person did not plan for. This includes the view that something may be traumatic to one person, may not be considered a traumatic experience to another. As Szalavitz describes, “some things sensitize some people's nervous systems, and other things sensitize other people's nervous systems,” she exemplifies how individual people need a different approach for care. Addiction develops in conjunction with mental health, known as a co-occurring disorder, comprised of anxiety, depression, trauma, and other mental illness in addiction to an addiction.

The Kraft Group Inc., designs its program to the client, instead of the client adjusting to their program. Each therapist within The Kraft Group Inc., practices with a non-judgmental approach, to treat any addiction, including substance, money, gambling, compulsive sexual behaviors and more. As Szalavitz exemplifies within her book and throughout this interview, is the importance of being acceptable to diversity within treatment approached. Various therapeutic approaches such as, neurodiversity, tolerance, patience and assisting to develop a positive purpose within each of our clients, assists in obtaining the goal of improvement and progress. The Kraft Group Inc. strives to empower our clients through the use of their own individual strengths, goals and expectations through guidance, support and encouragement.

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