Treating Impulsivity, Developmental Trauma and the Drivers of Addiction

June 2, 2021

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Impulsivity is one of the key behavioural issues most closely associated with addiction, with a range of impulsive control disorders commonly co-occurring alongside addiction. The inability to self-regulate emotions and behaviours can be a major factor in why some individuals turn to addictive substances and behaviours to self soothe, and why they escalate as tolerance builds up. The same is true of individuals experiencing relational issuesmood disorders or developmental trauma, which also occur with high prevalence alongside addiction.

At South Pacific Private, we believe it’s vital to identify and address impulse control issues and other underlying issues as a core element in a comprehensive, trans-diagnostic approach to addiction treatment. Indeed, a growing body of research continues to demonstrate that addiction and its comorbidities – including impulse control disorders – often share common, deep roots in developmental trauma and Adverse Childhood Events. 

Trauma, abuse, neglect, parental addiction and less than nurturing developmental environments are therefore key drivers of addiction and concurrent conditions, and must be directly and effectively addressed in treatment to promote sustained recovery. 

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Our treatment program is built around this understanding, and calls for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinical team including psychiatrists, group therapy facilitators and experienced psychotherapists. We follow an adapted interpretation of Pia Mellody’s Model of Developmental Immaturity, a model which traces dysfunctional and maladaptive adult behaviours and thought processes to childhood experiences and parental deficiencies. 

As well as delivering detox, rehab, group therapy, psychotherapy, family therapy, mindfulness training and psychiatric treatment, we teach the model directly to patients in educational lectures. We find that educating clients directly through the framework of the Developmental Immaturity model aids awareness, understanding and commitment to clear recovery plans. It helps clients understand where they came from, how they got here and the path needed for long term recovery. 

This comprehensive and holistic approach, which includes an integrated focus on teaching meditation and mindfulness techniques, is designed to address underlying issues including impulse control disorders. 

We work with clients to identify the key triggers of impulse control problems, help them understand that neural pathways have been entrenched by the repetitive nature of addiction, and assist by encouraging the practice of repeated, alternative options to promote emotional regulation. Our integrated Family Program, which brings parents, partners and close friends into the treatment process for several days, is designed to reduce relational triggers and build out a broader network of support and understanding. 

Taken together, we are firm believers that this comprehensive, trauma-focused, holistic approach to addiction treatment offers the strongest model for sustained, long-term recovery.

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If you would like more information for yourself or for a loved one, our client care team is available to take your call 7 days a week.

Call 1800 063 332

Our Address

A. 24 Beach Street

Curl Curl NSW 2096

P. 1800 063 332

F. 02 9905 9696

E. [email protected]