For how prevalent PTSD is in America, it remains one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses in the country. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that roughly 7.7 million Americans suffer from depression, and the number could, in fact, be greater when you consider the number of undiagnosed cases.
Individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are often at the highest risk to develop alcohol or substance abuse problems because of the overwhelming need to medicate and make the unpleasant symptoms go away.
PTSD is an unpredictable disorder because the symptoms and behavior are often different in each individual case. Because of this, it’s important to seek specialized care from qualified professionals who have experience helping those with the disorder.
Watch for the Symptoms of PTSD
Although PTSD is a common mental illness, the general public is still left in the dark with a lot of the facts about it. Did you know that there are two types of PTSD? Chronic PTSD occurs over a long period of time with ongoing symptoms while acute PTSD symptoms occur in a shorter term. The symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person, ranging from flashbacks to memory loss. Here is a list of some of the most common PTSD symptoms:
- Uncomfortable flashbacks.
- Nightmares and trouble sleeping.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Avoiding triggering locations, events or objects.
- Amnesia or loss of memory surrounding the traumatic event.
- Easily startled or frightened.
- Emotionally numb.
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyed hobbies or activities.
- Experiencing seemingly random bouts of rage or outbursts.
Who can Develop PTSD?
While any person could experience a traumatic event that causes PTSD, certain people are at a greater risk of experiencing the symptoms. For instance, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that women are more likely to experience PTSD than men because women are at a greater risk for rape or sexual assault – a common triggering experience that causes PTSD.
Other people who are at a greater risk of developing PTSD include the following:
- Veterans who have served in the military.
- Homeless people.
- First responders such as paramedics, police officers, and firefighters.
- Doctors and nurses.
- Survivors of natural disasters or other major catastrophes.
- Survivors of major illnesses or medical procedures.
- Individuals reeling from the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one.
Why is PTSD Connected to Substance Abuse?
For many individuals who suffer from PTSD, drugs or alcohol can become a crutch. Since many who experience PTSD do not come forward for treatment, they often end up self-medicating with substances to dull the intense and uncomfortable feelings associated with the disorder. For example, PTSD sufferers who have trouble sleeping may become addicted to sleep aids in order to get a restful night’s sleep.
Much like using drugs or alcohol to fix anything, it doesn’t quite work, and the substance ends up only aggravating the symptoms of PTSD. In most cases, alcohol addiction with PTSD leads to intense feelings of depression, anger, isolation, and more. At this point, individuals may turn to harder drugs or more intense binges to get the same results, which leads to a serious addiction issue that requires alcohol or drug treatment programs.
Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Identifying substance abuse in yourself or a loved one often requires an objective look at your various habits and opinions. Just like PTSD, the symptoms of addiction and substance abuse vary in each individual; however, there are several warning signs that you should look for:
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities.
- Failing at work or family commitments due to substances.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Feeling like you need to drink or do drugs for people to like you or feel loved.
- Hiding your habits from loved ones.
- Engaging in risky behavior such as driving under the influence.
- Losing contact with friends and family members.
- Getting into trouble with the law.
These are just a few of the common warning signs that indicate substance abuse or addiction issues. When combined with PTSD, addiction can be a dangerous slope with a devastating ending. As soon as you notice the signs in yourself or a loved one, seek professional help immediately from a drug or alcohol rehab treatment center to reduce the dangers of overdosing, injury, or chronic diseases causes by addiction.
Treating Substance Abuse and PTSD Together
Each person experiences PTSD differently the same way each person experiences addiction differently. However, when these two disorders are combined, it’s referred to as a dual diagnosis. When treating dual diagnosis, it’s important to trust an experienced therapist and medical professional who is qualified to handle the unique demands of these types of cases.
Dual diagnosis can often be difficult to treat because as both disorders are treated at the same time, it can cause the symptoms of one or the other to worsen before it gets better. This is why working with a qualified dual diagnosis treatment facility like Beachway Therapy Center is the best way to ensure safe and positive results.
How does the Holistic Approach Work?
Beachway Therapy Center operates using a holistic approach to healing. This is often the most effective way to treat dual diagnosis patients. The holistic approach focuses on healing the mind, body, and soul of the client through personalized treatment and aftercare plans. Some of our unique treatment options include:
We also believe in giving our clients the opportunity to regain control of their health through physical activity. The holistic approach helps yield permanent results and helps clients prepare for a sober and healthy future.
In addition to introducing clients to personalized treatment plans, we also offer personalized aftercare options. Aftercare acts as a transition period where clients can get a head start on life out of rehab. Some key aftercare features include placement in a sober living environment, access to group therapy, help finding a job or post-secondary school, and more.
Other Ways to Help with PTSD
Living with PTSD has many challenges. As a chronic illness, there is no definite cure for the disease. It will get better with time and with specific management tools and coping methods. Those suffering from PTSD should be reminded that there is no overnight fix for the disorder, and they should expect to see gradual results as they continue to work on their recovery.
Some of the best ways that PTSD sufferers can help their treatment include the following:
- Set reasonable goals that are challenging yet attainable.
- Give yourself credit when credit is due.
- Talk to your friends and family about your experiences and triggers so they can help you avoid them.
- Engage in active hobbies that will help relieve stress.
- Actively seek out opportunities or events that make you feel safe and comfortable.
Get the Help You Deserve Today
Living with PTSD and substance abuse is not the life you deserve. Get the help you need today by calling the experts at Beachway Therapy Center. Our dual diagnosis specialists can help you identify the cause of your disease and help you reach a resolution.
Call 877-284-0353 today to put an end to addiction and get the mental health help you need.