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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on its own can seriously interfere with a person’s life. When you combine PTSD and addiction, though, the hurdles to recovery may seem insurmountable. Fortunately, any hopelessness a person feels is completely in their own head. No matter how bleak the outlook may seem, help is available for those who seek it out.

Transformations at Mending Fences has helped countless individuals facing co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. Review our Guide on Common Co-occurring Disorders if you’re wondering about the drugs most frequently linked to PTSD and addiction. If the following information makes you realize you need help, reach out to us today.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction

PTSD is an often debilitating condition stemming from severe stress and trauma. Symptoms can range from constantly thinking about the precipitating event to flashbacks and violent outbursts. Individuals suffering from this condition may be unable to perform basic life tasks due to symptoms. Many of these people discover that drugs seem to lessen the condition’s severity.

Unfortunately, this typically only results in PTSD and addiction both creating issues. Those who self-medicate to treat the illness often choose opioids to help settle their minds. When opioid use goes unmonitored by professionals, though, the risk of misuse increases exponentially. A person will need more and more drugs to deal with PTSD’s debilitating effects.

Even if a person manages to not become addicted to a drug with which they’re self-medicating — an unlikely outcome — using substances can reduce their ability to cope. No matter how long a person self-medicates, post-traumatic stress disorder will not simply vanish on its own. And when the symptoms finally surface, they typically hit people like a ton of bricks.

PTSD and Addiction Statistics

Statistics linked to PTSD and substance abuse disorder paint a bleak picture of a common problem. Co-occurring disorders are present with many mental health issues, but post-traumatic stress disorder seems to create disproportionate risks. There are many factors that could explain this connection, but PTSD and addiction statistics proving this link exists are undeniable:

  • Twenty percent of those suffering from PTSD self-medicate as a way of relieving symptoms.
  • Self-medicating for PTSD increases the likelihood of borderline personality disorder and dysthymia.
  • Nearly 47% of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder.
  • Women suffering from PTSD are 48 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 4.46 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • Almost 52% of men with PTSD also have substance abuse disorder.
  • The risk of suicide among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder increases when substance abuse is also present.
  • Seventy-four percent of Vietnam veterans with PTSD also suffered from substance abuse disorder.

These PTSD and addiction statistics show this problem is far from uncommon. In many cases, it can even prove fatal. If you’re dealing with either of these conditions, reach out to us today at Transformations Treatment Center. We provide a variety of therapeutic approaches that can help. We also offer treatment groups for veterans and service members.

Symptoms of PTSD

If you’re drinking or taking drugs to deal with upsetting thoughts or negative feelings, it’s likely that you have a co-occurring disorder. Without a diagnosis from a mental health professional, it’s difficult to say whether the underlying condition is depression, anxiety, PTSD, or some other issue. In fact, it can even be difficult to pinpoint whether the addiction or mental issue came first.

If you’re wondering whether your issues relate directly to PTSD and addiction, though, it’s important that you can identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. If you notice any of the following signs after a traumatic event, intense stressors, or long-term abuse, it’s possible that you may have developed PTSD:

  • Reliving the event: Nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and flashbacks
  • Avoidance: You avoid situations, places, or people that trigger memories of a traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts/moods: Becoming distrustful, losing hope, and lacking interest in activities you once enjoyed are common psychological changes
  • Hyperarousal: Being overly aware of exaggerated dangers can make a person jumpy, aggressive, irritable, or tense or lead them to develop sleep disturbances

These symptoms can arise after any traumatic event, and they may not indicate post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, many people experience these for weeks following a stressful event without long-term issues. If symptoms persist more than three months, though, a diagnosis of PTSD becomes far more likely.

While PTSD and addiction is a major problem in America, seeking help rather than self-medicating can help you better overcome trauma-related issues. These problems typically only worsen when left untreated, so reaching out for professional care immediately improves the odds of recovery.

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How to Treat PTSD and Addiction

At Transformations Treatment Center, we take a holistic approach to overcoming addiction and mental illness. This means we focus on the mind, body, and spirit in our therapies. It also means we focus on treating all problems a person is facing. That’s because undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy for post-traumatic stress without dealing with addiction is unlikely to help either issue.

It’s important to deal with co-occurring disorders such as PTSD and addiction simultaneously. We accomplish this through a variety of therapeutic approaches. The following are some of the most commonly used at our facilities:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Anti-anxiety or depression medications.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Experiential therapies
  • Detox services to overcome withdrawal
  • Equine assisted therapy.

Transformations Treatment Center offers each of these treatments and more. We understand that no two people are alike, and even if multiple individuals suffer from PTSD and addiction, their paths to recovery can look very different. The one thing they have in common is their need to reach out for help immediately.

Don’t Face PTSD and Addiction on Your Own

When someone experiences a traumatic event, the psychological outcome can be devastating. There are a variety of treatments available to those suffering from the condition, but people far too often view seeking help as weakness This is an untrue and dangerous belief, and in far too many cases, it simply results in other unhealthy behaviors.

If you’re suffering from PTSD and addiction, you don’t have to fight the battle on your own. Transformations Treatment Center has a certified staff of professionals dedicated to helping build customized treatment plans for every client. Each person has individual needs, and we can help identify the therapeutic approaches that will help meet those needs.

Contact us today and we’ll help you see that PTSD and addiction does not have to rule your life.