PTSD and Addiction

PTSD and AddictionPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that occurs after a traumatic event. Victims of violent or sexual crimes, targets of abuse and war veterans often suffer from this issue. Unfortunately, many California residents with PTSD may never receive an official diagnosis, and some try to treat themselves with drugs to relieve their symptoms. In such cases, many people develop an addiction to the drug.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD occurs when a person cannot cope with a devastating experience. While the causes of PTSD can vary widely, the symptoms are quite similar. In fact, a PTSD diagnosis can only be made if the patient exhibits all of the following issues:

  • Physical and emotional symptoms. California patients may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep, or become increasingly prone to emotional or angry outbursts. They may also have frequent difficulty concentrating.
  • Inability to function. The symptoms must be serious enough that they are emotionally or socially crippling or otherwise interfere with life.
  • Avoidance. PTSD victims do not simply avoid talking about a traumatic experience, their minds can actually block out certain details of memories. Avoidance can also manifest as a patient going to extreme lengths to stay away from people, places, or things that could potentially lead to reminders of trauma.
  • Reliving the trauma. A California patient with PTSD may imagine a horrific event repeatedly, whether it is through vivid memories, recurring nightmares or triggered flashbacks. An example of a triggered flashback is a war veteran recalling a traumatic battle because of a loud noise that sounds like gunfire.
  • Lasting symptoms. If a person shows symptoms of PTSD, but the symptoms do not last for at least one month, she has acute stress disorder rather than PTSD.

PTSD is a serious mental health issue, and the severity of symptoms can encourage drug abuse.

Why PTSD and Addiction Often Co-occur

Addiction is so prevalent among PTSD patients because of the severe anxiety and depression that commonly result. Drugs can serve as a “quick fix” for anxiety, though they can actually worsen anxiety in the long run. The longer a California resident self-medicates her symptoms, the higher the risk of addiction.

When patients have both PTSD and an addiction, they have a Dual Diagnosis where each condition worsens the other. Seeing the problems as linked helps medical professionals use effective treatment methods. When patients receive treatment for both aspects of their Dual Diagnosis, they can benefit greatly. In these rehab facilities, a team of medical professionals studies each individual to develop a specialized treatment regime. Integrated treatment is often the most effective option for someone with a Dual Diagnosis.

Help for California Drug Addicts with PTSD

If you or California loved one suffers from PTSD and addiction, we can help. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline now for information and support. Help is available, so please call today.

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