Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can have trouble coping with the aftermath of the trauma. Some turn to drugs and alcohol as means of coping. PTSD and addiction treatment is available to those individuals. When drugs and alcohol are used as a way of self medicating, and coping with the results of trauma, it can have some negative impacts on the person’s life. Understanding what PTSD and addiction are, as well as the relationship between the two, can help those who suffer with these disorders to seek help, and begin to heal.
What is PTSD?
Short for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD is essentially a psychiatric trauma response. It develops in a person who has experienced or witnessed some form of a traumatic event. Those who have been in a car accident can develop PTSD and begin to experience flashbacks and uneasy feelings when in a car. It can also occur in people who have witnessed a tragic accident. In the past, PTSD was mostly associated with soldiers who had gone into combat. It was known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” during and after World War I and World War II.
Since then, the thoughts surrounding PTSD have evolved, and professionals have begun to realize that anyone, regardless of age, gender, culture or ethnicity can be affected by this disorder. However, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with PTSD than men are. It is estimated that one in eleven people suffer with it. It is a widely experienced disorder in the United States, and can affect all aspects of an individual’s life.
PTSD has some characteristics that are associated with its diagnosis. The symptoms can vary in severity from person to person. Those signs and symptoms can include:
- Avoidance: avoiding things related to or reminding of the traumatic event
- Cognitive changes: having problems remembering important parts of the event
- Intrusive thoughts: having repeated and unwanted thoughts or memories of the event
- Changes in arousal and reactivity: irritability and angry outbursts, reckless behavior
Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction
What is the relationship between PTSD and Addiction? Does one affect the other? Oftentimes these two disorders co-occur within the same individual. In the medical community, this is known as dual diagnosis.
Co-occurring disorders are often seen in individuals who have experienced trauma and, as a result, suffer from PTSD that they turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping. These substances are used to mask or numb the symptoms of PTSD
Turning to drugs and alcohol to medicate the symptoms, though, can lead to the development of a dependence on these substances in order to complete daily functions. Prolonged use of drugs and alcohol can lead to changes in the way the brain processes these substances and the body can become dependent, resulting in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms once the substances are taken away.
Once a physical dependence to a substance has been reached, breaking that can be very difficult. It is highly suggested to seek professional help to begin a healthier lifestyle. PTSD and addiction treatment can be successful for those who seek it, and there are professionals available to help those in need.
Treatment for PTSD and Addiction
Since addiction to any substance can be difficult to stop, seeking professional help for your addiction is a good idea. Inpatient medical detox can be extremely beneficial in PTSD and addiction treatment. During this stage, a medical staff is available 24-7 to address unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These rofessionals are also trained to address the feelings that may arise as a result of PTSD once the substances are removed.
Having this care at your disposal provides a great safety net. It allows one to manage their symptoms and begin the healing process. Healing from the traumas that caused PTSD is crucial to being able to live a full life, one free of drugs and alcohol.
Continuing therapies once the substances are removed can be a beneficial component of PTSD and addiction treatment. Here you can find a safe space to process and address any negative feelings that can trigger PTSD trauma responses. PTSD and addiction treatment can be a successful way to achieve the life you wish to live, doing the things you love, without the fear of these traumas hindering you.
Help for PTSD and Addiction in Southern California
If you or a loved one suffer from post traumatic stress disorder as well as addiction, there is help for you out there. There are professionals trained to specifically help you heal from both addiction and the traumas that led to the PTSD. We at Ocean Hills Recovery aim to provide the best care to those who are under our care. We strive to help during the beginning stages of the recovery process. Contact us today, and let us help as you begin your journey of recovery.