As we all know, the effects of major traumatic events in life can have real, lasting impact on the human psyche. In extreme cases, the effects can cause such repeated pain that they develop into a long-term illness. This case, known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is most closely associated with veterans of war. However, in reality, it affects many non-veterans too. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD. That number could actually be much higher because there are likely many undiagnosed cases of the illness.
But can PTSD cause addiction? We here at Beachway Therapy Center certainly know it can. That’s why we’re devoted to helping PTSD sufferers get through their pain and the challenges associated with it.
What Exactly is PTSD?
PTSD is classified as a mental illness that can develop after a person has experienced a traumatic event, such as war, sexual assault, a traffic accident, or really any other perceived threat to their survival. Typically, the traumatic event leaves the person with residual disturbing feelings, thoughts or dreams that are replayed every time they are reminded of the event. Consequently, that person can develop a desire to avoid those feelings in the future. In some cases, the pain associated with that event and repeated trauma-related cues can lead to severe depression and substance abuse. Not surprisingly, someone suffering from PTSD is at a higher risk for committing suicide or causing harm to themselves.
What are the Symptoms, and Who is Most Likely to Suffer from Them?
The most common symptoms include nightmares and trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, uncomfortable flashbacks, amnesia, emotional numbness, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and seemingly random outburst or rage. Women are typically more susceptible to suffering from PTSD than men, as they are more often victims of rape or sexual assault. However, certain sections of people are also more inclined to experience PTSD. These include military veterans, homeless people, doctors and nurses, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, those living with the unexpected death of a loved one, survivors of illnesses, and survivors of natural disasters or other major catastrophes.
So, can PTSD Cause Addiction?
Yes. Those suffering from this illness are much more likely to use alcohol or drugs to medicate themselves so they can be numb from the pain. This is particularly true because many don’t come forward to seek treatment for PTSD and addiction. So, PTSD sufferers use alcohol or drugs to dull the painful memories they have, sleeping pills to relax them enough to sleep at night, or a myriad of other potential substances used for a variety of reasons.
Ultimately, numbing oneself doesn’t work, and can actually make their pain and isolation worse. That’s why people with PTSD need professional help from those who understand their challenges.
We Can Help
Beachway Therapy Center offers the highest-quality individualized, cutting-edge treatment programs available, built on extensive experience in what approaches work best. We treat our clients’ addictions at the deepest mental and emotional levels, with award-winning programs that approach drug and alcohol problems at their core.
Ultimately, if you know someone who is suffering from any trauma-related pain or substance-abuse problems, contact us immediately. We will help them to get their life back.