Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is caused by a past traumatic event, either due to severe abuse or violence, or a natural disaster whose effects are significantly distressing such that they interrupt an individual’s ability to function effectively in their daily activities, or when certain stressors are triggered.

Trauma and Substance use

Studies show that traumatic experiences during childhood or adolescence may lead to substance use and addictive behaviors later in life. When a traumatic event occurs, it triggers an increase in endorphins initially, and then a severe withdrawal of endorphins. Individuals who are affected by trauma disorders turn to using substances to compensate for the withdrawal of endorphins each time they experience trauma stressors or triggered by flashbacks. Depending on substances to cope with trauma eventually leads to addiction. 

Some Common Causes of Trauma

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD vary between individuals depending on the severity of the trauma and the person’s response to it. Below are groups of symptoms commonly experienced by PTSD patients. To be diagnosed as PTSD, an individual must experience symptoms from one or more of the groups.

Re-experiencing/Intrusive Symptoms

This group of symptoms include persistent thoughts and re-experiencing past traumatic events, flashbacks and nightmares, leading to severe psychological distress when reminded of the trauma.

Avoidance Symptoms

Intentional efforts to avoid remembering or thinking about past traumatic events, or people, places and things related to the event.

Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms

This group of symptoms include misremembering or difficulty remembering the traumatic event, social withdrawal, experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear and horror.

Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms

This set of symptoms include hypervigilance, sleep problems, difficulty holding attention, quick to react with anger, irritability and self-destructive behaviors. 

Treatment of PTSD and Addiction

Research indicates that more than 40% of addiction patients are also trauma disorder patients. There is an unmistakable link between trauma and substance use, and hence dual diagnosis and treatment is necessary to address both. 


Due to the sensitive nature of most traumatic events, individual therapy including behavioral therapies (CBT, DBT, EMDR) and psychotherapy have been found to be most effective in treating co-occurring disorders such as trauma disorder and substance abuse disorder. Prescription medications such as antidepressants may be recommended in some cases. Holistic practices such as yoga, meditation, as well as balanced diet and exercises go a long way toward enhancing an individual’s wellbeing.

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.