PTSD and Alcohol Addiction
Most people when they hear Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they think of the brave men and women who have served our country in war. PTSD is just that, a condition that presents itself after a traumatic event that has happened. It can happen to anyone who survived or witnessed a traumatic event in their lifetime, not necessarily just veterans of war. Victims of physical or sexual abuse, disaster, accident, or any other serious event. Women are more likely to develop PTSD and genes can make people more likely to develop PTSD than others. About seven or eight people out of 100 people will develop PTSD at some point in their life, according to the National Center for PTSD. It can last for months or even years. Those who suffer with PTSD experience triggers that bring back memories of the traumatic event with physical and emotional reactions. They may experience depression, anxiety, flashbacks and/or nightmares of the event, and avoidance of triggers.
PTSD & Self-Medicating
The American Psychiatric Association first added PTSD as a mental disorder in 1980. This makes it a relatively new disorder that many people had before and couldn’t understand. Many people who had and have PTSD tend to self medicate to lessen the effects of the disorder. Some people may have had an idea of what they had but chose to self medicate instead of actually getting diagnosed because they don’t want to associate themselves with the stigma of mental disorders. Some people just don’t want to deal with it. The most common substance abused in regards to PTSD is alcohol. According to the National Center of PTSD, 60 to 80% of Vietnam Veterans seeking PTSD treatment have alcohol use problems. Up to three quarters of abusive or violent trauma trauma survivors report drinking problems and up to one third of traumatic accident, illness, and disaster survivors report drinking problems. PTSD and alcohol are often found together and it can be trouble for them and their family. PTSD and alcohol addiction are very serious issues.
Abusing alcohol on it’s own can lead to many difficult problems for the abuser and their family but using it with PTSD can make the symptoms even worse. “Medicating” with alcohol can make the depression worse, worsen anger, worsen the anxiety or feeling of being on guard, make it more difficult cope with and get through the traumatic memories, more isolated, and worsen the ability to sleep or the quality of it. In all actuality, avoiding the memories of the traumatic event can prolong the PTSD. The way that PTSD is treated is with different psychotherapies and possibly medications to help manage some of the symptoms. So if alcohol makes PTSD worse, why do so many people still use it? Alcohol lessens the traumatic memories, reduces awareness, makes inhibited people to socialize, and “helps” with insomnia. It reduces rational thought and are trying to escape the memories or nightmares since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol is a temporary solution. It doesn’t actually fix anything or make anything better.
Going through a traumatic event that is severe enough to cause PTSD is already difficult and to carry those memories and feelings around make it even more difficult. PTSD is the mind’s way of coping with what happened. It makes sense that people who have gone through this trauma want to put it in the past and forget about it but the reality is that they can’t. The only way to get past this is to confront it and work through it with the help of a professional psychiatrist. Abusing alcohol will only make angry people angrier, anxious people more suspicious, and reclusive people more withdrawn. Getting the right treatment will help make strides in recovery from PTSD.
Recovering from Alcohol Abuse & Trauma
Recovering from alcohol abuse while suffering from PTSD can make things more difficult. Often times when alcohol consumption stops the nightmares can be worse or more frequent. It can be difficult to confront those especially after trying to suppress and forget about them for so long. With the right treatment and correct medications and dosages can help make this easier. Medications can be used to help with the depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is important to get the right help for PTSD and alcohol addiction. Abusing alcohol can lead to many physical problems such as liver disease, stroke, heart disease, and many others. The sooner you start recovery, the sooner you can address all these issues and start living a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Find Treatment for Both Alcohol Addiction & PTSD
If you or a loved one is in need of treatment for both alcoholism and ptsd, you need to look for a facility that treats both. Recovery Ways, the premier alcohol rehab in Utah, is a dual-diagnosis facility that treats co-occurring disorders. This means that we treat both the addiction and any associated mental health issues. If you are ready to make a change and live a life free from alcohol addiction & ptsd, please call 1-888-986-7848 or contact us here.
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The addiction treatment approach at Recovery Ways is about Reclaiming Your Life. The program is tailored to meet the needs of the individual and provide each patient with the emotional, physical and spiritual tools to achieve a productive, joyful, and sober lifestyle. Our approach is a collaborative effort that empowers our patients to heal mentally and physically. We provide a nurturing environment that supports an individual’s unique healing process.All stories by: Recovery Ways