Understanding PTSD and Addiction

Typically, a person suffering from addiction is likely to have a co-occurring disorder as well. There are often underlying conditions that may cause a person to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

One such disorder that often occurs alongside addiction is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can be highly distressing for individuals that struggle with it, and addiction can exacerbate the symptoms. By understanding the link between PTSD and addiction, those struggling can get the help they need to live a happy, healthy life.

Prevalence of Co-Occurring PTSD and Addiction

According to a 2013 study, “approximately half of the individuals seeking substance use disorder (SUD) treatment meet criteria for current PTSD.” Many believe that PTSD only occurs in war veterans, but the disorder can occur after any kind of short or long-term trauma. In fact, 7-8% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lifetime. Individuals with PTSD pose a higher risk of developing a SUD, usually due to self-medicating.

Exacerbating Symptoms of Each

Many individuals that use drugs and alcohol to cope with PTSD do so because they believe it will relieve their symptoms. While they may feel better temporarily, long-term use of these substances will actually worsen symptoms.

For example, a person that struggles with PTSD may experience flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. They may use alcohol to relieve their symptoms, but as their tolerance increases over time, they begin to experience heightened anxiety and depression again.

However, they cannot stop using alcohol because their body has become dependent on it. The cycle continues, negatively impacting the person’s life and leading to addiction.

Treating PTSD and Addiction

While struggling with co-occurring PTSD and addiction is challenging, there is hope for healing. Many programs around the country use both traditional and holistic treatment modalities to help individuals overcome PTSD and addiction to find a better life. Healing does not happen all at once, but with the proper support, you can live the life you always dreamed of. Do not give up, and seek help today.

PTSD and addiction often go hand in hand, wreaking havoc on individuals’ lives. The negative impact that the disorders cause can make a person think there is no hope for healing, but that isn’t true. These co-occurring disorders can be treated to give you the life you’ve always wanted. At the Detox Center of Colorado, we strive to give our clients the help they need to start their recovery off on the right foot. By providing traditional and holistic methods amongst the mountains of Colorado, our clients find the healing they need. Start your journey today by calling (303) 952-5035.

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