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The Sydney Addiction Seminars are a post-graduate health education series now held under the auspices of Drug Health Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the Department of Addiction Medicine, University of Sydney. They are convened by Dr Richard Hallinan and Professor Paul Haber.


Wednesday 20th August, 2014

"PTSD and addiction: management including dialectical behaviour therapy. With a focus on trauma in women”

The large majority of people with substance use disorders have been previously exposed to trauma, and up to a third have current post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The constellation of key PTSD symptoms (re-experiencing of trauma and sensitivity to reminders; avoidance and numbing; physiological arousal), often leads to self-medication with drugs and alcohol.

In this seminar, our experts will help us understand the relationship between trauma and addiction, the diagnosis and approaches to the management of PTSD in people with problems of addiction.

Dr Danielle Florida is a Addiction Psychiatrist at Drug Health Concord, has a background in General Practice and a Masters in Psychology Medicine. Dr Florida is currently undertaking a clinical trial piloting third wave group psychotherapies in co-morbid clients.
Dr Kathy Watson is a Staff Specialist Psychiatrist working at Drug Health Services, South Western Sydney Local Health District. She is completing Advanced Certificates in Addiction Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.

Objectives: At the end of this seminar, the participant will be able to:
1 Show knowledge of the epidemiological and casual connections among trauma exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and problems of addiction.
2 Show awareness of the near ubiquity of trauma exposure in women with substance use disorders, and its implications.
3 Demonstrate understanding of the diagnostic criteria (re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal) for post-traumatic stress disorder and how they have evolved over time.
4 Show awareness of how PTSD may affect therapy for and recovery from addiction, including risks of on-going trauma exposure, and trauma re-exposure.
5 Demonstrate familiarity with principles of pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of PTSD in people using drugs and alcohol, especially the questions of sequential versus concurrent treatment, and the role of dialectical behaviour therapy.

Link to suggested pre-reading:

We aim to make these seminars as interactive as possible. Please email your suggestions to for cases and questions to Richard Hallinan at


Venue: Scott Skirving Theatre, RPAH, Camperdown

6.30pm for introductions and refreshments, sessions starts at 7pm. No booking necessary, but to assist with catering please RSVP interest to or call Drug Health Services RPAH on 02 9515 6419

This seminar series attracts 2 points/hour for RACGP QA&CPD (activity number 715352).

The sessions and refreshments are again supported this year by Reckitt Benckiser, makers of buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone