Thilo Beck at WEF Roundtable - A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society

Goals House Roundtable, World Economic Forum, Davos – Thilo Beck

A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society: Elaborating on Key Points.   We are living through a historical period defined by uncertainty, which is having a profound impact on our mental health. Research shows that – on average, 15% of working-age adults live with a mental health condition globally,…

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Affluent Neglect

Society expresses great concern for poor, underserved children and the increased likelihood they may lack access to health care and education, or that they may turn to drugs or crime in adulthood. Less attention is paid to children of affluent parents who have their own set of problems. Emotional neglect often goes unnoticed or unreported, which may…

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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph. in the 1980s, is a type of talk therapy originally designed for high-risk, suicidal people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT is used to treat people struggling with a range of complex and intense emotions, including substance abuse and addiction, PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders,…

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The Pandemic-Push: Why are so Many People Suddenly Buying Prescription Drugs Online?

Prescription-med sales skyrocket due to the pandemic, but when does use become abuse? Paracelsus Recovery’s experts weigh in. More and more people are illegally purchasing prescription medication such as anxiety or sleeping pills online as the pandemic takes its toll on our wellbeing. The pandemic has left a mental health crisis in its wake. Rates…

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How Trauma Leads to Addiction: Trauma and the Brain

Although much remains to be learned about the brain, research has proven that trauma, which may be the result of bullying, crime, sexual abuse, accidents, natural disasters, war, neglect or domestic assault, affects the brain in a number of ways.

As a result, there are significant changes in the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala, an area of the brain associated with memory, emotions and survival instincts, becomes overactive when exposed to trauma. As a result, the brain is constantly looking for and perceiving threats, thus triggering severe feelings of anxiety, fear and vulnerability.

Conversely, trauma causes the hippocampus, a small organ in the temporal lobe, to become underactive. The hippocampus is associated with processing of memories and also regulates emotions. When trauma prevents proper processing of memories, the result is an endless and terrifying cycle of disturbing memories.

The medial prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain associated with high-level thought, action and decision-making, may also be involved in retrieval of long-term memories. However, when exposed to trauma, the medial prefrontal cortex is overruled by a basic instinct for survival that originates in a more primitive area of the brain.  As a result, it becomes very difficult to make wise decisions and to resist the urge to engage in destructive or addictive behavior.

A Few Statistics on Trauma and Addiction

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders at the Department of Veterans Affairs says that between 25 and 75 percent of people who experience violent trauma eventually develop problems with alcohol.

Similarly, between 10 and 33 percent of those who experience traumas such as natural disasters or accidents develop problems with alcohol abuse.

Sexual abuse is one of the most severe forms of trauma. Studies indicate that men and women who experience sexual abuse as children or adults have a much higher rate of substance abuse than those who haven’t experienced sexual abuse.

Although addiction can happen to anybody, individuals with a strong system of supportive friends and family are often able to withstand trauma and avoid turning to substance abuse to relieve painful memories.

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