PTSD and Addiction

Posted in Drug Addiction

Many people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also abusing drugs or alcohol. Proper treatment for both issues is necessary for a healthy recovery and drug-free life in Atlanta.

What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD is caused by a traumatic event in a person’s past. Symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Flashbacks to the traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Avoiding things associated with the traumatic event
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • A purposeful distancing from people

The extreme stress and anxiety caused by PTSD can disrupt a person’s life in Atlanta. This psychological condition may affect sexual abuse victims, natural disaster survivors, victims of crime and combat soldiers. A desire for relief from PTSD symptoms may prompt individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol.

What Is Addiction?

An addiction may begin subtly or suddenly. The stronger the abused substance the faster the body develops tolerance. Tolerance is when higher doses are needed to attain the desired effect of a drug. As the user’s body adjusts to higher amounts of the foreign substance, dependence develops and prevents the user from stopping. Dependence is when the body needs the steady intake of chemicals from the abused substance just to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Continued abuse due to physical dependence coupled with increasing doses because of tolerance puts an addict at risk for overdose or mental health issues. Mental health issues such as depression may develop after long-term substance abuse because of the damage foreign chemicals can cause to the central nervous system.

Why Do PTSD and Addiction Co-occur in Atlanta Residents?

If a PTSD is not properly treated, a person may begin abusing drugs as a form of self-medication. Self-medicating a mental health issue will only worsen the condition. The traumatic events that surround a drug-abusing lifestyle can contribute to PTSD. If improperly diagnosed, PTSD may be mistaken for depression or anxiety disorders and medicated improperly, worsening the condition. Prescription drug abuse is common among Atlanta residents suffering with PTSD.

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction

PTSD and addiction need to be treated simultaneously. Only a medical professional can correctly diagnose PTSD, and a psychological evaluation provided upon entering rehab can identify this and other co-occurring mental health concerns. Atlanta residents with mental health issues and substance abuse problems are offered Dual Diagnosis treatment. Dual Diagnosis treatment addresses all related problems to prevent relapse, since any remaining condition may perpetuate the others if not fully treated. Treatment for Dual Diagnosis patients may include the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Somatic experiencing
  • Prolonged-exposure therapy
  • Medications
  • Support groups
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Find Help for Addiction Today!

If you struggle with addiction and PTSD, please call our toll-free number now. We are here 24 hours a day to explain all your treatment options and find the best fit for your recovery.