The Link Between PTSD and Addiction
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something that can happen to anyone who goes through a traumatic event. The disorder is something that is individual for everyone who goes through it. You may handle stress and trauma differently from a person who went through a similar scenario, so it must be approached individually. When it comes to PTSD and addiction, both need to be treated hand in hand. If you suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, you will be checked for PTSD, because in order to completely heal from addiction, you have to heal from whatever is causing your PTSD as well.
PTSD and Addiction go Hand in Hand
If you suffer from PTSD, you are aware of just how damaging the effects can be. For some people, symptoms are less severe, but for many, they can be crippling. PTSD is considered a mental health condition that begins because of a traumatic event, which can include illness, a death of a loved one, being a witness to a crime or accident, or being in a natural disaster. It can also include things like divorce, bankruptcy, and more.
Symptoms of PTSD usually start within a month after the traumatic event, but sometimes it can take longer. It is important to know the symptoms so that they do not get ignored. Some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- Flashbacks and intrusive, distressing memories.
- Reliving the event in your head.
- Having nightmares.
- Getting emotionally distressed when something reminds you of what happened.
- Avoiding anything that reminds you of the situation.
- Hopelessness about the future.
- Being unable to remember things.
- Feeling emotionally numb and having a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy.
- Having a feeling of being detached.
- Emotions like guilt, shame, anger, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
One of the biggest red flags of PTSD is using drugs or alcohol after the event to numb your emotions, or any of the symptoms you experience as a result. It is far too common for people who have PTSD to become dependent upon drugs and alcohol to cope, and this eventually can lead to severe addiction.
PTSD and Addiction Treatment
When you go to a treatment center for addiction to drugs or alcohol, you undergo an intense evaluation to figure out any underlying issues. Physically, underlying issues can mean that you have an undiagnosed or untreated disease. Mentally, you will be evaluated for mood disorders and PTSD. It is important to be as honest as possible with your doctors and therapists so that they can give you an accurate diagnosis. The better they know what is going on with you, the better they will be able to treat you.
If you are diagnosed with PTSD and addiction, your disorder will be treated hand-in-hand with your addiction. You will never be able to heal unless you face the traumatic event. The doctors and nurses from your treatment center are there to help you work through what happened in your past so that you can begin to move past it. A part of moving past it means learning healthy ways to cope with the trauma so that you put self-destructive behavior behind you.
Through lifestyle modifications, therapy, and medication, your doctors will be able to guide you through the dark spots and any symptoms you experience so that you can emerge on top. You no longer will need to use drugs and alcohol as a crutch to get by, so that you can focus on improving your life overall and moving to bigger and better things.
It is important to remember that coping with PTSD and addiction can become a thing of your past, and it definitely doesn’t need to dictate your future. With the right help and attention, you can move past whatever happened and learn how to live a happy life, the sober way.