Addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Addictions happen for many reasons. In many cases, addiction is the result of another medical condition. People suffering from mental health disorders are also prone to addiction. It is not uncommon for a person who enters an addiction recovery center to be diagnosed with a dual condition.

What Is A Dual Diagnosis?

When you enter into drug rehab, you will work closely with a substance abuse counselor. Part of the process that you will undergo is finding the root causes for the addiction. In many cases, the addiction stems from another medical condition. This is what is known as a dual diagnosis.

This medical condition may be physical, such as trying to cope with pain or a serious disorder, or it may be mental health-related in other cases. The counselor will work with you to find these root causes to begin the healing process and overcome the addiction.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, was once thought to be associated only with military members who served in an active war situation. During World War I, it was referred to as “shell shock” and thought to be something that would go away when the men returned home from active duty.

Now, it is understood that PTSD is a serious mental health issue that simply does not go away after a person is removed from a situation. PTSD can happen to anyone that has been in a traumatic situation and, without help, can lead to ongoing mental health issues.

The mental anguish experienced by people with PTSD is one of the reasons that substance abuse occurs. The numbing effect of the drugs or alcohol becomes a coping mechanism for the person who has PTSD, and soon an addiction forms.

This creates a cycle of suffering and addiction. Thankfully, there is help available for both of these conditions.


Five Requirements For PTSD

For PTSD to be diagnosed, five requirements must be met.

  1. A traumatic event must have occurred that directly impacted the person.
  2. The traumatic event must cause internal reminders of the event, such as night terrors and flashback events when certain things trigger the memory
  3. Avoidance of anything or anyone that may cause a triggering event. Often become socially distant.
  4. Higher states of anxiety at all times, even when a triggering event has not happened. However, the thought of a triggering event causes anxious feelings all of the time.
  5. Changes to personality, ways that a person sees or interacts with things, and a person can become quick to anger.

PTSD is a severe condition that can change everything about your personality and how you live your life. Sadly, suffering from PTSD also leads to substance abuse because they feel that it reduces the severity of the suffering.

Entering Into Treatment For PTSD and Addictionentering into recovery for PTSD

To overcome the addiction, you must find the cause of that addiction. Too many people believe that addiction is a result of poor choices or lack of personal control. The truth is, most addictions are the result of someone trying to manage a mental health condition that is overtaking their lives.

Finding the cause of the addiction and getting the necessary help for that root cause will provide the person with much-needed relief on many different levels.

Being able to address PTSD and get the necessary help to overcome and manage this disorder will help begin the healing process. When a person can understand what is causing them to feel so bad and know that there is medical help to eliminate that bad feeling, everything in their lives, including overcoming addiction, starts falling into place.

When a person is given hope of feeling good again and knows that they can manage what has made them feel bad, their lives change. It is a sense of relief. It is a way to address other areas of their lives now that the hardest problem can be managed.

Entering into recovery from addiction may not take away the experience that has led to PTSD, but it will give you a new perspective on life. When you are receiving treatment for PTSD, you will no longer need to manage the pain with different substances.

You can enjoy life again – and in the end, that is what matters most.

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