PTSD And Addiction- What is The Relationship Between the Two?

It is commonly seen that around 50% of individuals who are considering substance treatment will be seen going through Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For such a person, it is difficult to get a positive outcome with this treatment.

On the other hand, a person who is diagnosed with PTSD is 3 times more likely to go through substance abuse. However, there are treatments for both and you can find them in the Concise Recovery Centre, which is one of the best rehabs in San Fernando Valley. They have the experience in providing the right treatment depending on your situation. Your treatment will depend on the nature of your substance abuse and any co-occurring conditions that you may have.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by a trauma the person might have experienced in his life like some military combat, sexual abuse, or even car accidents. Here are some signs and symptoms of PTSD:

  • You can see that the person irritated or angry all the time
  • He might be having difficulty sleeping or even concentrating
  • Feeling of numbness and avoiding socializing with people
  • Reliving the trauma or even experiencing flashbacks and nightmares.

How is this PTSD developed?

It has been found that 70% of people who have experienced traumatic events over their lifetime can experience this problem. The major reason being is helplessness. You are not able to accept the fact about this change, which can make you feel helpless to deal with it. The greater is your feeling, the more you will be caught up in this hyper-arousal cycle leading to posttraumatic depression.

Scientifically, when we encounter stress, our sympathetic system starts to respond, triggering the adrenal system and releasing cortisol. In this way, our body may move forward to fight the threat, move away from it, or sometimes freeze. After this, our body moves to a parasympathetic system where it goes back to normal functioning. In PTSD, our body fails to come back to the parasympathetic system, and therefore it remains a stressful situation.

Relationship Between Substance Abuse And PTSD

As we mentioned earlier, addiction is connected to co-occurring disorders like PTSD, depression, and anxiety. People who are taking treatments for PTSD are very likely to be diagnosed with addiction. This mainly occurs when they try to self-medicate themselves because they feel that taking medications will decrease the symptoms of PTSD. Such people are more prone to use alcohol rather than drugs. Such problems are mainly found in veterans or service members who do heavy drinking.

People feel that if you treat trauma then the person will automatically stop substance abuse. However, this is not going to happen as our body is used to getting substance as a reward and has also increased our tolerance level. Thus, both the treatments need to be carried out together because substance abuse has the power to undermine all the treatments by impairing our minds.

The most common treatments include psychoactive medication, mindfulness and distress tolerance skills, cognitive behavioral therapy, inpatient and outpatient treatments. If you or your loved one needs help in this, then they can contact the consultant immediately.