PTSD and Addiction Treatment
A person experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will often isolate and avoid people, places, and things that can cause these mental triggers to occur. Fear that any trivial thing may bring on overwhelming stress causes the sufferer to live in a world where everything around them is a cause for concern. This is where addiction comes into play for people suffering from PTSD.
Those affected with PTSD and addiction require dual treatments that must address all sides of the trauma and substance abuse for recovery to have an impact.
At The Villa Treatment Center we know individuals with PTSD and addiction need specialized support services to recover and live a healthy life. It takes time to experience peace but in time a person can learn to live with some parts of the condition while mitigating PTSD symptoms in a positive way, without the use of drugs or alcohol.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD, is a specific mental health condition that comes from the late triggering of reactions to trauma. After a severely traumatic experience, an individual can exhibit depression, intense anxiety, and fear based on these past experiences, leaving them unable to process the reason behind these feelings.
In the United States alone, about eight percent of the population experiences the negative effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We often see military veterans with intense levels of PTSD due to combat trauma.
Women also experience this severe mental condition. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans, ten percent of women and four percent of men experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course it is erroneous to believe that the disorder is only a result of warfare. Any number of significant negative experiences may lead to this post-trauma condition that can make it difficult to cope with everyday life. While many people that have this disorder are aware of their condition and the events that have caused its onset, there are still many that are left unaware they have undiagnosed and untreated PTSD.
How is PTSD diagnosed?
Post-traumatic stress disorder can only be diagnosed when all symptoms are present over a long period of time, usually a month or more of recurring symptoms. The longer that symptoms of PTSD are left undiagnosed or the actual traumatic event is left untreated or addressed, the worse the symptoms become. There are a few different signs a therapist will look for that will show them a person is suffering with post-traumatic stress. Through various types of PTSD therapies, often cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, or talk therapy treatments, a therapist will see the first signs of the disorder when an individual has an attack. An attack of PTSD is a severe reaction to an emotional or memory-triggering stimulant. For those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anything can be a trigger from sound and sight, to particular smells.
The symptoms of PTSD that often result in substance abuse:
- Aggressive outbursts
- Aggressive behavior
- Attention deficit disorder
- Chronic pain
- Chronic illness
How Trauma Therapy Helps Overcome PTSD
People with PTSD are often overcome by these triggered moments that cause them to revert into their memories of the past trauma, and they have a tough time coming out of these moments. Whether or not someone has PTSD specifically, as soon as a trigger is set off in their mind they need to experience it and safely come down from the episode and back into the present moment.
Trauma Therapy at The Villa Treatment Center for PTSD and its co-occurring addictions can help people suffering with the disorder to understand what their triggers are and how to address what they’re fearful of so that they can learn to live free of fear and anxiety related to their trauma.
How does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Lead to Substance Abuse?
Those that experience the constant fear and tension caused by PTSD try everything they can to get avoid flare-ups of traumatic memories. Soon everything makes them nervous, and they’re constantly irritated, angry, or living in fear. The only way that they believe they can avoid these things is to numb their experiences of life and turn to drugs or alcohol abuse to cope with their PTSD symptoms.
Since living with PTSD can make it impossible to live in the real world, they create a space for themselves within this cloud of drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, this method of self-medication as a treatment for PTSD can create abuse of these drugs and alcohol to the point where any sort of life they were living becomes completely unmanageable.
Under the influence of substances, a person is more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior such as driving under the influence or engaging in an altercation with someone else. Legal problems, incarceration, poverty, unemployment and other issues may arise as a result of PTSD and substance use.
The Most Common Addictions those with PTSD Develop Include:
Trauma & Addiction Recovery through Support
A dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction will require intensive support from psychiatric professionals, family, and friends. At The Villa Treatment Center, we know people who battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse may be reluctant to seek treatment. Many who experience this disorder live with intense guilt and shame associated with trauma. Addiction may add to guilt which makes it harder to reach out and ask for help.
Family trauma therapy and support groups are integrated into this treatment plan because the strong relationships we develop and the family connections we foster can save us from ourselves. We bring family members into therapy to help them understand how to help someone with recurring trauma and substance abuse, how to help them manage any medications needed, and how to identify signs of relapse.
Those commonly affected by PTSD and addiction:
- Men and women that have been involved in combat
- Those that have experienced child abuse
- Sexual abuse victims
- Those experiencing the loss of a loved one
- Disaster survivors
- Those affected by depression are at higher risk
Types of mental health conditions such as PTSD, when combined with addiction can be fatal. We at The Villa Treatment Center are here to help you or your family member overcome this constant fear of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Call The Villa Treatment Center today to find out more about our PTSD and Addiction dual diagnosis treatment options.