PTSD and Drugs: Drug Addiction & PTSD

If you are struggling with PTSD and drugs, you are not alone.  In fact, a 2012 study reports that people with PTSD were two to four times more likely to struggle with a drug addiction than people without PTSD.

Treating trauma and addiction requires special care. Our agents understand the relationship between these two disorders and how to find the right treatment option for you.

Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction

PTSD and Drugs - Man standing, leaning against a brick wall with arms crossed in front of him looking down at the ground.It is important to know that having both PTSD and substance abuse disorders does not mean that one caused the other. It may be difficult to ever figure out what actually started first. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) there are three possible reasons that PTSD and substance abuse coexist:

  1. Using drugs may cause you to experience one or more symptoms of another mental illness.
  2. Mental illness, such as PTSD, can lead to drug abuse. Many people use drugs to self-medicate or lessen the symptoms of PTSD.
  3. PTSD and substance abuse are caused by similar factors. This includes brain deficits, genetic predisposition, and exposure to stress or trauma.

The roots of addiction run deep, and its nature is complicated. Then, when you add in co-existing factors, such as PTSD, it’s beneficial to understand the unique issues you may have. It’s also important to recognize the symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD can develop at any age. Two people can go through the same traumatic event and react differently. Events that may trigger PTSD include physical or sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, or any other serious event. The National Center for PTSD reports that out of 100 people, approximately eight will experience PTSD at some time in their lives.

Symptoms typically begin within three months of a traumatic event, but may not start until later. These symptoms last more than a month and may interfere with your ability to function in your work and relationships. Symptoms may last up to six months from first appearing. Some people experience symptoms for a much longer time, making them a chronic or ongoing issue.

24 Hour PTSD and Addiction Treatment Hotline – Get Help Now

If you are struggling with PTSD, you may experience any of the following:

  • Flashbacks
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Avoiding places that remind you of the experience
  • Avoiding thoughts related to the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about yourself or the world
  • Feelings of guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

If you have been through a traumatic event and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from PTSD. These symptoms can make it difficult to live life and may also make you want to use drugs to escape the uncomfortable feelings. This is known as self-medicating and is common in those struggling with PTSD.

Drug use and abuse may make the symptoms of PTSD worse. When these two disorders occur together you will need PTSD and addiction treatment at the same time. There are rehab facilities that specialize in treating this unique combination, also known as a dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation Facilities

If you are in need of treating trauma and addiction, you may need a Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation Facility. This type of rehab facility understands how to treat both disorders, and the importance of doing so. If you treat the addiction without treating the PTSD, your risk of relapse will increase.

Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation Facilities treat you as a whole person. They help you with the medical detox, treatment of the PTSD, and offer therapy that will help increase your ability to stay clean and healthy in the future.

You may take part in individual therapy, group therapy, and nutritional counseling. You will learn new coping mechanisms that will help you stay sober and healthy long into the future. Many people are afraid of detox, but this is an exciting step you are taking. You will receive the treatment you need and we commend you for pursuing your health!

Ready for Help with PTSD and Drugs?

PTSD alone can be difficult. When it happens with addiction, it can be life-threatening. A quick fix isn’t enough to achieve long-term sobriety. This is a life-long journey towards a new state of mind.

24 Hour PTSD and Drug Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is struggling, reach out to us today. Once you make the decision to get help, immediate placement is important and often available.

We can help and provide you the support you need. Give us a call and start your journey down the road to recovery.