Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been in the news lately due to soldiers returning from war zones around the world, but in fact PTSD can affect people from all walks of life who are dealing with a traumatic episode in their life.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from PTSD turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism for their emotional disorder, leading to a dual diagnosis of PTSD and drug abuse. Statistics show that nearly 50-60% of people dealing with PTSD already have or are likely to begin using drugs or alcohol, leading to a dual diagnosis.
Substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a complex physical and emotional relationship for the patient, as a result of the traumatic issue, that can complicate treatment options.
Aid in Recovery is not a treatment facility, rather they link the patient to specialized treatment facilities in their area that specialize in the complex diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and drug abuse, as well as, counseling for the traumatic issue that lead to the disorder, such as returning soldiers, victims of rape or abuse, witnessing a violent accident, inability to cope with traumatic life event, and many other issues.
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Symptoms of PTSD and Drug Abuse
Unfortunately nearly 50% or more of those who suffer from PTSD will use drugs or alcohol to cope with or avoid the debilitating symptoms.
The only way to identify for sure if you have PTSD is to have an evaluation by a mental health professional. However, if you have suffered from the following symptoms for 30 days or more, you may have PTSD:
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or inability to stay asleep.
- Frequent nightmares.
- Re-living the traumatic event, such as flashbacks
- Feeling cut off or avoiding family and friends.
- Avoidance of people, places or things.
- Frequent bouts of uncontrolled anger, crying or rage.
- Chronic stress, anxiety or depression.
- Aggressive behavior or angry outbursts
Seeking treatment for a dual diagnosis of PTSD and drug use can difficult, long and painful, but will ultimately result in the patient regaining his or her life back.
Fight or Flight Response
A natural biological response to a traumatic or dangerous situation is called the fight or flight response. This leads to the release of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
During the fight or flight response your heart rate increases, pupils become dilated, you may begin to sweat and your mind begins to race as it searches for a way to “save itself” from pending doom. Normally, once the cause of the response is mitigated, hormone levels and heart rate return to normal, but for someone dealing with PTSD, the mind perceives the body is perpetually under a state of attack, and the fight or flight response becomes a constant and chronic cycle attack on the mind and body. This can often lead to the use of drugs and alcohol to avoid and numb oneself from the war that rages within.
While diagnosis and treatment for PTSD or drug abuse individually can be complicated, a dual diagnosis of PTSD and drug abuse often referred to as PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) can pose additional complications in the individual’s life, such as marital issues, employment issues, health issues and financial problems, that require a specialized treatment plan for successful recovery.
Causes of PTSD and Drug Abuse
National Health Services of the UK reports the types of events that can often lead to PTSD include:
- Involvement in or experiencing a serious or violent car accident.
- Being a victim of violent personal assault, such as sexual assault, rape, mugging or robbery.
- Prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect.
- Witnessing violent deaths.
- Involvement military combat, injury or prolonged deployment away from family.
- Being held hostage.
- Witnessing or experiencing a terrorist attack.
- Natural disasters, such as severe floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes or tsunamis.
- A diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.
- An unexpected severe injury or death of a close family member or friend.
Aid in Recovery will help you find a treatment specialist in your area who can help diagnose and provide effective treatment for PTSD and drug use.
The Link between PTSD and Substance Abuse/Addiction
People who suffer from PTSD are between two and four times more likely to also battle addiction than their peers who do not also struggle with PTSD, the journal Clinical Psychologypublishes.
Aid in Recovery has agents that can help find the lowest cost options for you. We aim to find an drug rehab center that works with your health insurance company to treat your drug addiction and address the issues underlying your PTSD.
A number of reports indicate that individuals
meeting diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) are likely to also meet DSM-IH-R criteria for alcoholism
and/or drug abuse.
It is common for mental disorders like PTSD and drug addiction to occur together, though one doesn’t necessarily cause the other.
What treatments are offered for co-occurring PTSD and Drug Use?
Evidence shows that in general people have improved PTSD and drug use symptoms when they are provided effective treatment that addresses both conditions.
This can involve any of the following treatment modalities (alone or together):
- Individual or group cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT)
- Specific psychological treatments for PTSD, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
- Behavioral couples therapy with your spouse or significant other
- Medications that may help you manage the PTSD or SUD symptoms
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental anxiety disorder that develops after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic, tragic, terrifying or life-threatening event.
Events that lead to PTSD include war or military combat, accidents, physical or sexual assault, abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, bombings, and events in which individuals are injured.
The Next Step for PTSD and Drug Abuse
The next step is to speak to a counselor at Aid in Recovery 24/7 who can link you to an addiction or treatment specialist for PTSD and drug abuse in your area who can find a treatment specialist who takes your medical insurance plan or find an alternative, to ensure you get the treatment you need to get you on the road to recovery and to take your life back for yourself, your loved ones and your family.