Many individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, try to mask their pain with alcohol or drugs. They believe doing so gives them some control over their lives. What really happens is this destructive behavior buries the mental health problem that developed after their terrifying experience. Truly overcoming the pain requires undergoing treatment for PTSD.
Symptoms Indicating Treatment for PTSD is Necessary
PTSD diagnosis is likely to occur when symptoms interfere with an individual’s daily life for a month or longer. Some symptoms that indicate treatment is necessary include:
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Angry outbursts, being on edge or easily startled
- Having flashbacks, nightmares or frightening thoughts
- Avoiding people, places or things that remind them of the event
- Negative self-image, distorted feelings of guilt
- Losing interest in activities once enjoyed
It’s normal to feel anxious, sad or frightened after a traumatic event. However, an individual may need treatment for PTSD before memories of the experience fade or to get unstuck. It might feel like they’ll never get over what happened. Feeling normal again begins by reaching out for support.
Developing new coping skills can help individuals overcome PTSD and live without a constant feeling of danger.
Treatment for PTSD and a Co-Occurring Addiction
Substance abuse may provide temporary respite from PTSD symptoms. However, once the alcohol or drug-induced high wears off, symptoms may get worse. Drinking or using drugs could also increase an individual’s risk-taking behaviors when those substances interfere with making sound decisions.
This puts the individual in a compromised position to become a victim of violence or having an accident. Thus, symptoms of PTSD may cause a person to abuse alcohol or drugs as much as substance abuse can contribute to trauma. Either way, treatment for PTSD takes on a variety forms as a way out for many caught between a horrifying experience and self-medication.
When addiction and PTSD occur simultaneously, it’s important to treat both disorders simultaneously. Brain chemistry changes as a result of PTSD are similar to those of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Both disorders feed off each other.
Unless an individual receives dual diagnosis treatment, recovery is nearly impossible. Dual diagnosis recovery programs use a combination of therapies to ensure both disorders receive proper treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of behavioral therapy that can help individuals learn better ways of managing stress. Sessions teach them how to deal with triggers without turning to substances. Individuals also learn how to modify negative thoughts. Many repair their self-esteem, which helps them accept that they deserve to be happy.
Holistic therapy integrates treatment techniques that target the mind, body, and spirit. Treating PTSD and substance addiction with this therapy addresses underlying reasons for destructive behaviors.
For example, an individual’s desire for drugs after a traumatic experience could be due to not having a spiritual grounding. A holistic program may use yoga and meditation to help him or her turn away from destructive behavior patterns.
Finding Specialized Treatment for PTSD
Recovering from PTSD, especially with the presence of an addictive disorder, demands intensive support. In addition to professional help, most people will family members and peers to join them in healing. Crestview Recovery, an addiction treatment center in Portland, Oregon, offers a range of specialized treatment for people battling with PTSD.
Crestview Recovery provides treatment in an environment that works for the individual. The rehabilitation programs we have include:
Our therapists understand the fragility of individuals suffering from PTSD and a substance addiction. If you’re living with this difficult mental condition, there’s no better place than our facilities. We understand that a life recovering from drugs or alcohol is lived one day at a time. Contact us at 866.262.0531 to take the first step.