PTSD – (an Overview of How It Relates to Addiction, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) is a mental illness that stems from a traumatic experience or event. Unfortunately, in many situations, this disorder is also linked with substance abuse and addiction, and when this does occur, both issues will require treatment. Call 800-654-0987 now to find a rehab program that can treat both of your illnesses and allow you to recover safely.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. Those who have experienced a traumatic event, such as war, sexual assault, a natural disaster, or an accident, may later develop PTSD. In some cases, those who only experienced the threat of harm can also be diagnosed with this disorder. According to the National Library of Medicine, “PSTD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over,” keeping you from being able to heal properly after the traumatic event.

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How Does PTSD Relate to Addiction?

PTSD

Feeling guilty is a common symptom of PTSD.

Unfortunately, many people attempt to cope with their PTSD by turning to substance abuse. This is especially an issue among veterans. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, “Almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for [substance use disorders] also has PTSD.” However, there is also a strong relationship between these two disorders in civilian populations as well.

People who start out with substance use problems are more likely to experience PTSD after a traumatic event, as well as to cope with the issue by abusing drugs or alcohol. There is a serious correlation between these two disorders that can start with either problem and intensify into two comorbid disorders requiring professional treatment.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD and Addiction?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health, an individual must exhibit certain signs and symptoms in order to be diagnosed with PTSD. These can include:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms
    • Flashbacks
    • Bad dreams
    • Frightening thoughts
  • Avoidance symptoms
    • Staying away from places or things that remind the individual of the event
    • Avoiding thinking of talking about the event
  • Reactivity Symptoms
    • Angry outbursts
    • Problems sleeping
    • Being startled easily
    • Feeling tense or on edge
  • Mood Symptoms
    • Trouble remembering parts of the traumatic event
    • Negative thoughts about oneself
    • Loss if interest in activities they used to enjoy
    • Feelings of guilt or blame

Many of these symptoms are also associated with substance abuse, including loss of interest in fun activities, angry outbursts, sleeping problems, and flashbacks. A person who is abusing drugs and alcohol in order to cope with PTSD and its effects will also be very likely to become addicted if they aren’t already. No matter which issue comes first, both are liable to worsen and intensify the other.

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What if I Suffer from Dual-Diagnosis?

How Are These Comorbid Disorders Treated?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, comorbid disorders like PTSD and addiction must be treated simultaneously in a professional setting. Patients need to slowly overcome both issues at the same time so that one will not impede the progress of another. For example, if the individual’s PTSD goes untreated while they are being treated for addiction, they will be much more likely to relapse back to drug abuse because their PTSD is still causing them all the same issues.

Medications and behavioral therapies can be used to treat both disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often especially beneficial for the treatment of addiction and mental disorders. This program helps patients learn how to recognize the true reasons for their substance abuse as well as how to cope with their trauma in safe, rewarding ways. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration, there is a specific, trauma-informed approach to treatment that is also very effective for those who are suffering from PTSD and addiction.

Let Us Help You Find the Rehab Program for Your Needs

Without the proper treatment, PTSD and addiction can continue to affect you negatively and intensify one another. This is why it is so important to ask for help and to create change in your life by seeking treatment. You are not alone; call 800-654-0987 now to find a rehab program that will cater to your needs.

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