Unfortunately, there are millions of people who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. Generally, this condition happens after someone experiences or witnesses something traumatic. Many people who have addiction and PTSD are veterans. However, this disorder is found in many others, too.
Oftentimes, since post-traumatic stress disorder is so difficult to deal with, people may start abusing alcohol and/or drugs to self-medicate their emotions – whether that be stress, anxiety, fear or something else.
There are people who experience a traumatic event that are able to overcome the feelings of agitation, depression and anxiety without developing PTSD. However, those that do develop post-traumatic stress disorder find it much more difficult to work through these feelings. For some people, the symptoms might last months or even years.
With this being said, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and PTSD, our Southeast Addiction team can get you the treatment you need.
When Does Addiction and PTSD Occur
There are numerous experiences, events or accidents that can cause someone to develop addiction and PTSD. Some of the things that may cause these two conditions to occur include:
- Natural disasters
- Serious injuries and/or accidents
- Military combat
- Terrorism acts
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Death of a loved one
For a lot of people who go through these things, they develop post-traumatic stress disorder and an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
If you have developed addiction and PTSD as a result of any experience, event or disaster, our Southeast Addiction team wants you to know we have dual diagnosis treatment options that are vital to treating these conditions and in helping you to get sober.
More About the Co-Occurring Disorder of PTSD and Addiction
It is important for people to understand that post-traumatic stress disorder alters a person’s brain chemistry just as substance abuse does. Oftentimes, someone may develop PTSD and an addiction around the same time and then one may feed off from the others. The same traumatic event that caused post-traumatic stress disorder can trigger someone to abuse alcohol and/or drugs.
Why does this happen? Well, after someone experiences something traumatic, their brain makes less endorphins, one of the natural chemicals that helps people to feel happier. When PTSD develops, people often feel down or on edge most of the time, so they might turn to mood-enhancing drugs or alcohol to help them feel better. In time, they may start relying on these substances to ease their irritability, anxiety, depression or other symptoms.
It should also be noted that those with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher risk of becoming violent with their loved ones, friends and even with strangers. This is generally due to being triggered by something in their environment. People with PTSD may have regular panic attacks, too. Both these issues can be troublesome for family and friends to deal with or watch.
Another way that post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction link together is that the person with PTSD may feel guilty over their actions or feelings. That might cause them to abuse drugs and/or alcohol to cope with the guilt. This often leads to an addiction.
Luckily, there are co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorder treatment programs that can help you to recover. Here at Southeast Addiction, we have a range of treatments and other services which can help you to overcome addiction and PTSD.
Symptoms/Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Some symptoms a person has with PTSD may stay the same for a long time, while others might change significantly over time. You might experience some PTSD symptoms immediately after the event occurs while others may take months or years to develop. For some people, the peak of their disorder may not occur for years after the event occurred.
As noted above, PTSD does impact various areas of the brain – especially those associated with emotions and memory. Healthy brains know how to differentiate between present experiences and past memories. However, with post-traumatic stress disorder, various things interfere with that process.
If you have PTSD, you might react to something that is happening now because it reminds you of the traumatic event that happened in the past. When this current event happens, you may be filled with stress, anxiety, fear and other negative feelings. Some people may even feel suicidal as a result of these triggers. If you are dealing with any negative effects due to your PTSD, including the ones noted here or an addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Southeast Addiction team for help today.
PTSD Symptoms Categories
There are different categories of symptoms that may present themselves in your life.
One of these categories that you may be affected by is intrusive memories. For instance, you might have:
- Night terrors
- Repeated memories from the trauma
- Vivid flashbacks
- Severe physical symptoms due to the traumatic event reminders
You might also deal with avoidance behaviors such as:
- Trying to avoid thinking about or talking about the trauma
- Attempting to avoid people, activities, or places that trigger the event memories
- Trouble having close relationships
- Feeling emotionally numb
Many people who have addiction and PTSD, also experience drastic mood or thinking changes, such as:
- Memory lapses
- Not being able to have positive emotions
- Feeling negatively about oneself or others
Last, but not least, PTSD can also trigger you to experience mild to severe emotional reaction changes, including:
- Overwhelming feelings of shame and/or guilt
- Always feeling on edge or on guard
- Difficulty concentrating
- Self-destructive behaviors such as reckless driving and binge drinking
Sometimes, especially in cases where someone has repressed memories associated with a traumatic event, it can be hard to figure out why these symptoms are coming up. However, with professional PTSD treatment and support, you can get to the bottom of these issues and get the help that you need. Even if you are struggling with addiction and PTSD, you can get co-occurring disorder treatments, which means treating both issues at the same time.
Get Addiction and PTSD Treatment Today
Both addiction and PTSD have complicated impacts on a person’s brain. It is very important to get treatment for both these issues at the same time to undo some of the damage that has been done. The good news is there are numerous treatment options for those with addiction and PTSD or for those who have just one of these disorders.
You can get into an outpatient or inpatient treatment program to start treating these disorders. When you work with the professionals here at Southeast Addiction, we can start coordinating your treatment plan with you beginning today. Whether that includes therapy, detox, increased physical activity, other lifestyle changes or different addiction and PTSD treatments, we have you covered.
Contact us today to get the addiction and PTSD treatment you need.