The Problem is NOT the problem….it’s the solution to the problem
In AA speak...let's keep it simple.......Survivors are medicating the chemical changes in the brain due to post Traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD) with alcohol and drugs.
"The brain responds to intense stress by causing adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisols, opiates and several other hormones to be released into the bloodstream.... which circulate for hours or days after stress. The chemicals alter neuronal connections and seem to mediate psychological reactions….But prolonged stress leads, if anything, to chronically depleted cortisol levels in humans. John W. Mason of Yale has demonstrated that PTSD patients have extreme levels of key hormones: anomalously low cortisol coupled with high adrenaline, noradrenaline and testosterone. Low cortisol is linked with emotional numbing; spasms of high cortisol coincide with disturbing memories.”
October 1995 Scientific American
When a Survivor gets safe, by physically maturing enough the paedophile loses interest, by becoming physically strong enough to challenge their abuse, by physically being removed or removing themselves from the abusive environment the traumatic stress reduces. As this happens the production of trauma related chemicals reduces so the Survivor starts to become aware of what they have survived and their symptoms of PTSD and multiplicity such as dissociation.
"Between 10 and 20 percent of adult survivors of abuse are believed to suffer from dissociative disorders or from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dissociation, often employed by children who cannot escape from the threat of abuse, is a means of mentally withdrawing from a horrific situation by separating it from conscious awareness.
The skill allows the victim to feel detached from the body or self, as if what is happening is not happening to her or him. People with PTSD tend to relive violent memories. They are easily startled, avoid cues that remind them of the original experience and become intensely agitated when confronted with such stimuli."
October 1995 issue of Scientific American
The reduction of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol's, opiates, other hormones in their blood stream leads to an awareness of the underlying anxiety that was always there. This feels overwhelmingly weird particularly when accompanied by an awareness of dissociation and lost time. Survivors may lose whatever sense of identity they thought they had, feel constantly afraid but not be able to rationalise it as they intellectually understand that they are not in danger or any other combination of symptoms of PTSD. There is a desperate need to ‘feel normal’ again.
There are a couple of solutions for this that are not healthy. The first is to find and/or create another stressful environment. This is why so many Survivors find themselves in domestic violent relationships and why so many children removed from chaotic and dangerous family cultures try so hard to recreate them in care. Another is to use drugs, particularly opiates, to boost the chemical levels in the brain to ‘feel normal’ or to manage symptoms and/or maintain dissociation to ‘block it out’ with alcohol.
Self-medication with alcohol and drugs is especially common amongst multiples and it is not unusual to find alcoholic and/or addict alters whose job is to maintain the addiction for the system.
How I et al can help.
I et al has huge experience of substance misuse and working with survivors who misuse substances, including community detox and rehab. We do not provide addiction specific therapy because we know the substance miss-use is not actually the problem.
The Problem is not the problem…….it’s the solution to the problem.