Surviving the tripartite of COVID, Psychological Injury, and Addiction

Dr. Charl Els – Surviving the tripartite of COVID, Psychological Injury, and Addiction

Trauma is ubiquitous and no-one is immune. The advent of COVID-19 marks the introduction of cumulative trauma for those already traumatized by other adverse life events. The impacts of the pandemic, social distancing, and quarantine as risk factors for psychological and moral trauma are outlined. Exposure to cumulative trauma may be associated with the development of a psychological and moral injury, with or without the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Complications may follow, which include serious disruption in relationships, unemployment, financial hardship, substance abuse/addiction, as well as a suicide risk. Disruption of usual treatment services during widespread shutdowns has complicated an already precarious cycle. This session focuses on the impact of trauma on the development of addiction, against the backdrop of the complicating factor of a pandemic and the measures to curb its spread. This session will also outline the evidence-based interventions to optimize resilience, recovery and to achieve maximum medical improvement.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this session, participants will have an enhanced:

  • An understanding of the trajectory of trauma to psychological injury to addiction;
  • Appreciation of the psychological impact of the COVID pandemic;
  • Skills in achieving maximum medical improvement in psychological trauma comorbid with addiction.


Brooks SK, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: a rapid review of the evidence. Lancet 2020; 395: 912–20.

Calhoun LG, Tedeschi RG. Posttraumatic Growth in Clinical Practice, Taylor and Francis, 2013.

American Psychological Association. (2014). The Road to Resilience. Retrieved from


Dr. Charl Els is a fellowship-trained Psychiatrist, Addiction Specialist, and Occupational Physician. Els serves as a Clinical Professor at both the Department of Psychiatry and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He co-authored
several of the clinical practice guidelines of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, as well as for the Railway Association of Canada, and served on the Board of Directors for the Occupational and Environmental Medical Association of Canada. Finally, Els serves on the Board of Directors of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), the 2019 recipient of the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice.

Registration Now Open



About the Conference

This one-day Recovery Capital Virtual Conference will include:

  • Expert Speakers presenting on Assessing and how to build Recovery Capital, the Science of Recovery,  and other related topics.
  • Earn CEUs
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Full Conference Experience using the WHOVA App


Full Speaker Program

Click here for the Full Speaker’s Program

Thank you to our Sponsors and Partners

Continuing Education Units