Someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experiences increased anxiety after a traumatic event. Oftentimes a person will use drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with the symptoms, which can include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and increased aggressive behavior.
In this two-part series, we’ll discuss PTSD, how it can lead to addiction and how treatment can help. In part one, we took an in-depth look at PTSD, what causes it and its symptoms. Now let’s see how addiction can develop in someone with this disorder and what kind of treatment can help. If you need drug or alcohol rehab, please call Legacy Freedom in Raleigh today.
A person with PTSD will have symptoms that fall into the following categories: re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, avoiding feelings and memories of the event, and heightened emotions and increased anxiety. Each type of symptom can lead to drug or alcohol use in order to avoid having to deal with the feelings associated with the event.
For instance, a person who has flashbacks may drink to the point of blacking out in order to avoid experiencing the flashback. Someone who has trouble sleeping may drink or take drugs with a sedative effect in order to sleep. Having experienced a traumatic event will make a person feel anxious and upset, so any way they can be distracted from thinking about the event will be welcomed.
Unfortunately, using drugs or alcohol to cope with PTSD will only make it worse. A person won’t be able to sleep without drugs or alcohol, and if they are suffering from depression, the substances can worsen it because they suppress the central nervous system.
Nearly 75 percent of people who have experienced a traumatic event have reported having a problem with alcohol. Young victims of sexual assault are 4.5 times more likely to start drinking and nine times more likely to use drugs. One of the most common causes of PTSD and addiction for women is sexual abuse.
Combat is a common cause for men. Veterans who have experienced traumatic events during combat are more likely to start drinking. More than 2 out of 10 veterans with PTSD also have a substance abuse problem.
People who suffer from PTSD and addiction often end up having problems in other areas of their lives because they may not be able to keep a job or pay bills. They may also have legal issues because of traffic infractions. They could even end up homeless.
People suffering from PTSD and an addiction problem are reluctant to get help because of the guilt and shame they may feel surrounding the traumatic event. However, when they are able to get treatment for both problems, the outcome can be successful. A treatment plan may include individual psychotherapy, group therapy and possibly even medication.
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Is your drinking getting out of hand? Is it affecting other parts of your life? If you want to stop feeling as if you’re spiraling out of control, give us a call at Legacy Raleigh so you can get on the road to recovery. We’re here to help you take the first step in getting your life back. We know there’s not a single plan for drug and alcohol rehab that works for everyone, so we personalize our substance abuse treatment services to meet your needs. It's about real recovery from addiction. It’s not just a 12-step, one-size-fits-all approach. Call our Raleigh office today so you can get your life back.