Experts to meet in S'pore

SINGAPORE - Addiction experts from more than 15 countries will gather in Singapore next month for a two-day conference to discuss the latest international trends in treating the disease.

The second Asia Pacific Behavioural and Addiction Medicine Conference will be held on May 22 and 23 at the Regional English Language Centre in Orange Grove Road. It is billed as the only gathering of its kind in Asia.

The keynote speech, by American sex addiction expert Robert Weiss from the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, will be on how technologies are aiding addiction.

The conference theme this year is "transforming journeys", said the organising president, Associate Professor Munidasa Winslow.

It will help doctors, therapists, counsellors and other health-care professionals to build skills to help addicts and their families recover and move on.

Both substance addictions - such as alcohol and drugs - and behavioural ones - such as gambling, cyber or sex addiction - will be discussed.

Something psychiatrists refer to as "trauma-informed care" will form a special focus. Studies overseas have shown that a significant proportion of addicts use their addiction to cover physical, sexual or emotional abuse during their growing-up years, and this is especially true for women addicts.

"The key to helping them heal lies in understanding and treating this underlying trauma," said Prof Winslow.

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