A person’s mental health condition can influence his or her drug or alcohol abuse. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can contribute to a person’s substance abuse because he or she can temporarily escape reality. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that causes depression, intense anxiety, and intrusive memories or flashbacks that interfere with life. Many people develop PTSD from childhood abuse, military combat, natural disasters, and sexual assault. First responders are at risk of PTSD because of on-scene tragedies, accidents, or crimes.
People with PTSD often turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress his or her pain. Abusing drugs or alcohol with PTSD creates a dual diagnosis – one from an impairing psychiatric disorder and the other a substance addiction. A person with PTSD abuses drugs or alcohol as a way to seek temporary relief from the reality of daily life. He or she uses more and more to escape from painful memories and flashbacks, and increase the risk of drug or alcohol addiction.
A person with PTSD and substance addiction has a dual diagnosis and needs to get treatment immediately for his or her mental condition and addiction. A medical professional or medical team monitors the combined treatment and medication if needed. Many drugs can worsen symptoms of PTSD and cause physical impairment, overdose, or death. Alcohol abuse damages the brain’s function and causes physical damage to major organs in the body. Alcohol affects a person’s critical thinking, vision, speech, coordination, movement, and can cause overdose or death.
A person with PTSD is at high risk of substance abuse but when a medical professional treats the PTSD, the risk for substance abuse lessens. When a person has PTSD, he or she can have angry outbursts, feelings of helplessness, aggressive behavior, and restlessness. Individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD and drug or alcohol abuse often experience other disorders such as depression, chronic pain, chronic illness, or attention deficit disorder.
People living with PTSD often relive the traumatic event, have nightmares, and can become socially withdrawn. A person with PTSD can feel ashamed or guilty from the trauma and be reluctant to seek help. When a person with PTSD and substance abuse goes to treatment, he or she needs intense support and encouragement from family and friends. A dual diagnosis can be difficult to treat, but recovery is possible.
Recovery is possible and healing will take place in mind, body, and spirit. Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic based, 12-step inspired, clinically proven program for alcoholism and co-occurring disorders. Call (844) 234-LIVE today for information on our partial care programs.