PTSD is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. Unfortunately, around 6% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, and around 15 million people are currently suffering from it. Well, with the rising rates of addiction, many face a congruence of problems.
Fortunately, there are solutions, but they start with understanding the problems at hand. Let’s talk about PTSD and addiction, the link between them, and what you can do about it.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental illness that follows a traumatic life event. However, like most mental illnesses, not everybody experiences PTSD after a traumatic event, and everybody experiences PTSD differently.
If we only paid attention to movies and television, it’s likely we hold some misconceptions about this disorder, and it’s important to clear them up so we can recognize when there is a problem. The sooner you recognize the issue, the better. Let’s talk about PTSD.
What Are the Symptoms?
PTSD can lead to anxiety, depression, or dissociative disorders. When left untreated, symptoms often worsen and can even lead to brain damage. While everyone is different, common symptoms include behavioral and psychological issues such as:
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, excessive sleep, etc.)
- Self-destructive behavior
- Social isolation
- Mood swings
- Heightened reactions
Most often, a person who is reminded of their trauma is likely to experience some anxiety, putting them into the same “fight or flight” mode they were in during the traumatic experience.
In more severe cases, certain triggers can cause those with PTSD to feel as though they are back in the traumatic situation that led to their condition. These are commonly known as flashbacks, and they are what most often come to mind when thinking of the illness. However, flashbacks only occur in certain patients.
What Is Addiction?
Whether it’s illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling, or anything else, addiction works very similarly in your brain. Although, there are many common misconceptions about addiction that we need to clear up.
First, let’s start with the big one: addiction is not a “choice”. There are simply too many factors that lead to addiction, which can make it confusing from an outside perspective, making it appear as if it were a calculated decision to begin using in the first place.
Addiction is also not caused by “poor life choices”, as there are so many aspects of our lives that are entirely out of our control. Even the Covid-19 pandemic, which affects all of us, has impacted alcohol use throughout the country. However, this is far from the only common misconception.
Signs of Addiction
The sooner we catch on to substance abuse, the better. The longer that a person continues to abuse substances at high rates, the more their safety and the safety of those around them are at risk.
Believe it or not, 1 in 10 Americans are likely to experience substance use disorder (SUD) at some point in their lives, making addiction one of the most common illnesses in the country.
While different substances affect the brain differently, there are some general signs that somebody is struggling with an addiction. Common examples include:
- Running out of prescription medication too fast
- Hanging out with different people
- Lying about whereabouts
- Constantly complaining of illness
- Binge drinking
- Drinking while taking prescription medications
- Missing important obligations
- Relationship problems
- Legal problems
- Financial problems
- Change in eating habits
- Denial of issues
- Blaming others for personal problems
Of course, none of these guarantee an addiction. However, when they become a pattern, it should concern you. Other than general signs to watch out for, there are also physical and psychological symptoms of intoxication or withdrawal, including:
- Dilated pupils
- Eye redness
- Sleeping problems
- Chronic restlessness or fatigue
- Grogginess or illness in the morning
If you begin to notice a pattern upon reflecting on your habits, especially if you’ve been abusing substances, then it’s time to get help.
Trauma and Addiction
Trauma affects people differently, and some people may find it difficult to escape. When this happens, they may not think about the dangers of self-medication, and instead focus on immediate relief.
Again, addiction isn’t the only concern. Self-destructive behavior, self-harm, and suicidal ideation or actions can form from untreated PTSD. Because of this, treatment is needed sooner, rather than later.
However, many people in recovery will tell you that they’ve experienced certain trauma that led to their addiction, so it’s not an uncommon pattern. Fortunately, there are solutions. Let’s talk about treatment options.
Treat PTSD and Addiction with Restore Detox
So, because mental illness can negatively affect addiction (or even cause it), treating both conditions when present is essential for long-term success. You can’t treat one without the other.
Fortunately, there are options for those who need to treat PTSD and addiction simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment is used for patients in recovery who also need to treat an underlying mental illness.
Often, this will include ongoing therapy sessions both during and after rehab, along with possible medication treatment if necessary. A medical diagnosis will be required to determine the patient’s needs, but this process can be done at most rehab facilities.
In most cases, intensive treatment is necessary, and the best way to do that is with an inpatient rehab program. Inpatient rehab is more advantageous than outpatient because, not only do you receive the same treatment, but you will remain in a controlled, substance-free environment.
Not only that, but you will be able to spend more time focusing on recovery without distractions. With inpatient treatment, your schedule will be packed with group meetings, therapy, medical treatment, and recreational activities, allowing for a smooth early recovery.
To learn more about addiction recovery contact us today at (800) 982-5530.