Monday, March 9, 2015

Dr. Drew On Trauma And Emotional Disregulation

You may be familiar with Dr. Drew Pinsky’s work as an addiction specialist on the show Celebrity Rehab, his own TV talk show and now as a radio host on KABC 790 AM. Dr. Drew’s radio show is available as a free podcast. On March 3, he had a few interesting things to say about trauma, dysfunction, emotional disturbance and addiction. Check out the podcast at about 2:45 after the beginning.

Drew says, “Finally people are starting to make the connection between adverse health affects and (childhood) trauma… the consequence of that trauma is emotional “disregulation"… if you’ve been traumatized it shatters the brains ability to regulate… it creates a child who is unwilling to trust another person and unwilling to be vulnerable and re-enter that frame where they can build an emotional landscape that could lead to flexible emotional regulation.

Instead, they reach for alternatives- sex, drugs, cigarettes, high calorie/ processed food… this is more than emotional eating. This is eating in an attempt to fill a void/ regulate painful emotions and un-regulatible feelings. Pain, somatic dissociation, poor self care.”

He says that when children are traumatized it affects their brain physically. “It actually has a measurable effect on their memory- their hippocampus is structurally different.” They have a higher probability of difficulty in school, ADHD, problems functioning academically, drug and alcohol use, behavioral problems. “When you can’t regulate you’re more likely to drink and not do so good in school.”

Dr. Drew says people engage in dysfunctional behavior such as substance abuse because they are so unregulated. Whatever the particular psychological disturbance, ultimately the causational link is trauma. Drew says his patients had twofold problems- addictions AND underlying trauma. Pain, PTSD mental and emotional pain, feelings of emptiness, propensity to reenact their trauma- it ALL stems from emotional disregulation. Attempts to solve that include self medicating with substances and or coping behaviors.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children