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Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as, “a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.” Many men and women suffering from PTSD turn to drugs and alcohol in attempt to self-medicate their condition, which often leads to addiction. With individualized care and therapeutic support, recovery is possible in individuals suffering from both PTSD and addiction.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is common in those suffering from addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Some people try to cope with their Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms by drinking heavily, using drugs, or smoking too much. People with PTSD have more problems with drugs and alcohol both before and after getting PTSD. Also, even if someone does not have a problem with alcohol before a traumatic event, getting PTSD increases the risk that he or she will develop a drinking or drug problem. Eventually, the overuse of these substances can develop into Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and treatment should be given for both PTSD and SUD to lead to successful recovery. The good news is that treatment of co-occurring (happening at the same time) PTSD and SUD works.”

The attempts to self-medicate PTSD with drugs and alcohol may provide a sense of momentary relief, but eventually exacerbates both problems. The National Center for PTSD explains, “PTSD makes you feel ‘numb,’ like being cut off from others, angry and irritable, or depressed. PTSD also makes you feel like you are always ‘on guard.’ All of these feelings can get worse when you use drugs and alcohol,” and, “Drug and alcohol use allows you to continue the cycle of ‘avoidance’ found in PTSD. Avoiding bad memories and dreams or people and places can actually make PTSD last longer. You cannot make as much progress in treatment if you avoid your problems.” Fortunately, for those suffering from co-occurring PTSD and Substance Use Disorder, there are many effective treatments available. Such as individual or group cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT), couples therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These forms of treatment have been proven to be effective in treating co-occurring PTSD and addiction.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431