PTSD and Substance Abuse

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect anyone who has been through a traumatic experience. This disorder is commonly misunderstood because trauma can be extremely subjective. What’s traumatizing to one person may not be to another person. No matter what the case may be, PTSD can lead to substance abuse, which can make the disorder even worse. Understanding the link between PTSD and substance abuse can help you have a better understanding of what’s going on, so you can get the help that you need.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The symptoms of PTSD can arise after a traumatizing experience, which can include anything from a near-death experience to physical or sexual assault. The sad part about PTSD is that many people are traumatized at a young age, and the symptoms can affect them for the rest of their life. The symptoms can be mild for some people and more severe for others. These symptoms commonly include some of the following:
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Intense guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Mistrust

PTSD also overlaps with many other disorders, which can make it even more difficult to deal with. For example, PTSD increases symptoms of anxiety, which can lead to panic attacks and make life difficult to manage. The mistrust of others and fear of different situations can make a person reluctant to maintain relationships with friends, family, and potential partners. Due to the effects of PTSD, a person can also begin to experience symptoms of a major depressive disorder.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

One of the leading causes of substance abuse is having an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness. Dealing with these symptoms is extremely difficult, and most people want to get rid of these feelings and have an escape. Rather than getting the help they need, many people try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Various depressants like alcohol, prescription opioids, heroin, and benzodiazepines may calm a person down for a short period of time, but the symptoms of PTSD can become worse. 

Eventually, the brain starts associating this feeling of relief and calm with substance use, which turns into a dependency and addiction. By the time a person realizes that their symptoms are becoming worse, it might be too late for a person to quit on their own. The addiction to these substances can make life even more difficult to manage, so it can be difficult to maintain relationships or a job. Thankfully, help is available.

Beginning on the Road to Recovery

The first step towards living a life of sobriety is detox. The dependency to drugs or alcohol makes it difficult to stop due to symptoms of withdrawal. Enlightened Solutions Detox has a medical staff who specializes in drug and alcohol detox, and we’re here to help you get started. Aside from our detox program, we also provide clinical treatment to help you begin addressing your PTSD and learning how to manage and overcome the symptoms without turning to substances. If you’re ready to start living the life that you deserve in recovery, call us today at 833-233-7336.

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