PTSD and Substance Abuse

There are a plethora of mental health disorders that people suffer from on a daily basis throughout the world. One of the most complicated and detrimental of them is PTSD. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects every part of a person’s life and ability to function. While it may seem to some that this disorder is meant for those who serve in the military, that is contrary to the truth. Everybody comes from a different walk of life with different experiences. This is why individualized care is so important.

What is PTSD?

ptsd and addiction

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental illness that is more common than some may think. When a person thinks of PTSD, they may just think it to be another mental health disorder detrimental to a person’s health; while partially true, it’s not just another mental health disorder or label. There’s a lot to PTSD, and it has everything to do with the weight of the conflict or trauma that was experienced relative to a person’s mental disposition.

How Does a Person Develop PTSD?

PTSD develops when a person experiences a traumatic experience or life-threatening event. Some traumatic experiences could include but are NOT limited to war, sexual abuse, sexual assault, physical assault, physical abuse, verbal abuse, life-threatening accidents, and natural disasters. These kinds of traumatic events have a profound impact on the central nervous system and even put stress on internal organs.

PTSD has a massive impact on the body, including the central nervous system and internal organs. Some of the PTSD-affected bodily functions include the following:

  • Stomach
  • Intestines
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Bladder
  • Genitals
  • Lungs
  • Pupils
  • Heart
  • Sweat glands
  • Blood vessels
  • Digestive glands

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that also has an impact on other bodily functions such as metabolism regulation, sex drive, mood, and sleep. Not only that, but it also has an impact on the body’s biological defense system. This is all important because these systems in the body (namely the endocrine and immune systems) all depend on one another. This symbiotic relationship is essential to the body’s overall health and well-being. This affects the way we perceive and process trauma.

The symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor digestion

A person’s bodily reaction to stress depends on their perception. Because of this, it’s important to try and comprehend why a person is stress, and what triggers are causing this to happen. The human body responds to stress in interesting ways. For example, when stress occurs, there are hormones that activate in the body and inflame. Because of this, even the smallest memory of a stressful event can trigger unwanted emotions and reactions.

What are the Different Categories of PTSD?

ptsd and substance abusePTSD can be caused by experiencing or witnessing a Traumatic event. There are four different types of PTSD:

  • Event-related (single trauma): This type of PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing a single traumatic event, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or terrorist attack.
  • Childhood-related (complex trauma): This type of PTSD is caused by experiencing multiple traumas during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
  • Combat-related: This type of PTSD is caused by exposure to combat and can occur in both military and civilian populations.
  • Sexual assault-related: This type of PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing a sexual assault.

Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and more. Some people may also develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate and cope with the symptoms of PTSD.

PTSD and addiction often occur together, and either disorder can lead to the other. Treatment for PTSD and addiction often includes therapy, medication, and support groups.

Treatment Options for PTSD and Addiction

There are a number of treatment options available for people who suffer from PTSD and addiction. These include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps people to identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors.
  • Exposure Therapy: This type of therapy involves gradually exposing the person to the thing that they are afraid of. This can help them to overcome their fears and reduce their anxiety.
  • Medication: There are a number of different medications that can be used to treat PTSD, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotics.
  • Support Groups: Joining a support group can be a great way to meet other people who are dealing with similar issues. This can provide a sense of community and support.
  • Psychotherapy: This is a type of counseling that can help people to understand their thoughts and feelings and learn new coping skills. There are a number of different types of psychotherapy that can be effective for treating PTSD.

Who Suffers from PTSD?

PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced or witnessed a Traumatic event. This includes military personnel, first responders, survivors of natural disasters, survivors of sexual/physical trauma and more.

Those with PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and ease their symptoms. However, this can often lead to addiction. Substance abuse can worsen PTSD symptoms and make it difficult to recover from the disorder. It is important for people with PTSD to get treatment from a mental health professional to help them manage their symptoms and avoid turning to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

How Does Dependency Develop?

ptsd and substance abuse treatmentPTSD and addiction often occur together because PTSD can lead to addiction, and addiction can lead to PTSD. PTSD is a mental health disorder that can be caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and more. People with PTSD may turn to substances as a way to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms.

Additionally, the changes that occur in the brain during PTSD can make someone more susceptible to addiction. Substance abuse can also cause someone to develop PTSD, particularly if the substance abuse is accompanied by trauma (such as violence). People who suffer from addiction are more likely to experience traumatic events, which can then lead to PTSD. So, PTSD and addiction often feed into each other, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break.

If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD and addiction, there are treatment options available. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and support groups are all effective methods of treating both PTSD and addiction. It is important to seek help from a qualified professional if you are struggling with either disorder.

How Does Dependency Relate to Addiction?

Dependency is often seen as a negative thing, but it can also be positive. Dependency can help people feel secure and safe. It can provide structure and support. But when dependency turns into addiction, it can cause problems.

Addiction is a type of dependency that’s characterized by compulsively seeking out a substance or activity despite negative consequences. Addiction can lead to physical and mental health problems, financial problems, and social problems.

Individuals who suffer from addiction often have a hard time stopping on their own. They may need professional help to overcome their addiction. Treatment for addiction typically includes counseling, medication, and support groups.

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Can Someone Suffer from PTSD and Addiction at the same time?

It is possible for someone to suffer from PTSD and addiction at the same time. This is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis occurs when a person suffers from both a mental health disorder and an addiction. It’s relatively common for someone with PTSD to also suffer from addiction, as the two disorders often occur together. This is because PTSD can lead to addiction, and vice versa.

Addiction can provide a way of numbing the symptoms of PTSD, while PTSD can trigger substance abuse as a means of self-medication. There are several treatment options available for dual diagnosis, which may include medication, therapy, and support groups.

Is there Treatment for Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide comprehensive care for those struggling with both mental illness and addiction. These centers offer a variety of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, family counseling, and more. Patients receiving treatment at a dual diagnosis center will have access to the resources they need to recover from their disorders and live healthy, productive lives.

Help for PTSD is Available at Achieve Wellness & Recovery

ptsd and addiction treatmentAt Achieve, our ultimate goal is that you would find addiction treatment that matches your needs as an individual. There is no cookie-cutter solution to addiction treatment. Each person that walks through the doors of a treatment center is an individual with their own history and experiences; these experiences shape a person’s core self, how they respond to stress, and their coping mechanisms.

Our philosophy for everybody who walks through the doors of our treatment center is to treat the individual first. If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and addiction and need help, you can contact us here.