Research-based Recovery Information*
for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse and Adversity


Anxiety and depression are very frequently suffered by those have have experienced interpersonal abuse or neglect as children -- see, for example, Cyranowski et al (2012) [LINK]. If one adopts a "treatment as usual" approach to its treatment (providing treatment for its symptoms, whilst not accounting for its causes -- the usual practice in Primary Care and Psychiatric settings) one may generalize the use of the techniques recommended to any source of anxiety. However, sometimes anxiety presents as a symptom of another issue in people's lives, an issue that the "presenting problem" is "hiding" behind, something which might be even more anxiety-provoking than the presenting problem suggests. Difficulties with establishihg a workable therapeutic alliance with a therapist is another indication of such "hidden issues", as is difficulty benefitting from treatment, or return of a symptom after preliminary success, as is often seen in cases of depression having their origin in early trauma experiences. It is in these cases that a comprehensive, "contextualist" assessment needs to be conducted -- seeing the person's problems in the context of their overall history, their current life situation, and their prior history of treatment.

When anxiety is the presenting problem but it is not THE problem:
(click on filmstrip, then rightclick to bring up "download", then "open", when prompted -- .flv format, 7.7Mb, 2:5mins)


All articles listed are copyright and should not be re-used without their permission.
They are linked here for patient psychoeducational purposes.

10 Best-Ever Anxiety-Management Techniques
There are Effective Alternatives to Medication
by Margaret Wehrenberg                     [LINK]

The Anxious Client Reconsidered
Getting Beyond the Symptoms to Deeper Change
By Graham Cambell                     [LINK]

Brain to Brain: The Talking Cure Goes Beyond Words
by Janina Fisher                    [LINK]

Facing Our Worst Fears
Finding the Courage to Stay in the Moment
by: Reid Wilson                     [LINK]

Grand Illusion: Has the American Dream Become Our Nightmare?
      -- questioning priorities

by Mary Sykes Wylie                     [LINK]


Bringing Up Baby -- Are we too attached?
By Jerome Kagan                    [LINK]

The Verdict Is In
By Alan Sroufe and Daniel Siegel                    [LINK]

The Attuned Therapist
By Mary Sykes Wylie and Lynn Turner                     [LINK]

Many important issues related to anxiety and attachment are discussed in the literature review I did for an earlier research proposal: [LINK]



In increasing recogniton of the pervasive influence of exposure to emotional adversity in children, its contribution to anxiety and other disorders, and its potential negative implications for therapeutic outcomes, an increassing number of therapists directly address its recognition in the early stages of therapy. See, for example, the work of Dettco [LINK], and, in my opinion, the very good substance use recovery programs and services offered by Ridgefield Recovery [LINK]

Those with histories of experiencing adverse childhood experiences frequently present with co-occurring mood and other disorders, such as anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. This gave rise to a "self-medication" / drinking-to-cope hypothesis. This has been difficult to evaluate, in part because of difficulty in operationalizing the concept of trauma-related drinking-to-cope but what studies have tended to show is that people do, at least in part, drink to cope, but that othe factors are also likely to be involved (see Hawn [LINK], Luciano [LINK], Turner [LINK])

As noted on the website of American Addiction Centers [LINK], the leading American provider for addiction treatment nationwide, specializing in evidence based treatment and mental health care [LINK], regardless of our age, we are always deeply influenced by the people who raise us. These influences include not only the genes inherited from biological parents, but also the behaviors, habits, values, and communication styles that we learn from our adult caregivers. This same pattern applies to the way we use alcohol or drugs.The National Institute on Drug Abuse [LINK], see also [LINK] estimates that 25 percent of American kids grow up in households where substance abuse is present. In homes where one or more adults abuse alcohol or drugs, children are approximately twice as likely to develop addictive disorders themselves, according to Current Drug Abuse Reviews [LINK]. These children are also more likely to experience: abuse households

It is here where organisations like Ridgefield Recovery can contribute so much to those whose lives have been affected by adverse childhood experiences.