Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse often go hand in hand for those who are suffering from traumatic events. Attempting to cope with PTSD by abusing alcohol or drugs can lead to dangerous and potentially fatal situations down the line.
PTSD is a mental disorder that tends to develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. The victim may deal with anxiety as they find themselves reliving the event with vivid detail.
Addiction is when a person depends on a drug or alcohol and cannot function “normally” without it. The strong withdrawal symptoms and overall dependency can take a toll on a person’s life, often becoming habitual in the process.
A dual diagnosis is a combination of addiction and mental health disorder(s) in a person. For example, an individual may suffer from both PTSD and alcohol or drug abuse. It is crucial that you get help if you suspect that a loved one or someone you know is dealing with a dual diagnosis.
A Deeper Look at PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder and usually occurs after a person experiences a severely traumatic or life-threatening event. Some of the common causes of PTSD in individuals include:
- Sexual abuse/assault
- Experiences in war
- Serious accidents
- Physical assault
- Natural disasters
Stress tends to affect our autonomic nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system (each is dependent upon one another). With this in mind, PTSD is an intense reaction to stress, sometimes looked at as an overload of emotions.
PTSD typically appears during the first month or so after a traumatic experience. However, this disorder can develop months or even years later.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
Different individuals will experience different symptoms when it comes to PTSD. But, many people go through a wide range of general symptoms when experiencing this disorder. Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Emotional numbing
- Jumpy and easily startled
- Reliving or re-experience the event
- Distressing images and feelings
- Physical sensations (sweating, shaking, etc.)
- Avoiding PTSD triggers (places, people, etc.)
- Risky and self-destructive behavior
- Trouble concentrating in day to day life
A Deeper Look at Addiction
Addiction is a brain disease that prevents a person from being able to control their use/consuming of drugs and alcohol, regardless of the negative consequences. In other words, when a person has an addiction, their bodies struggle to function without substance use. As a result, individuals who have addictions cannot simply stop using these substances without help. A dependency is formed between the person and the substance, which can lead to severe problems down the road.
A person with an addiction will prioritize drug or alcohol use over everything else. An addiction can occur with basically any drug – some common addictions include:
- PCP and LSD
- Prescription medications
- Opioid painkillers (oxycodone, heroin, etc.)
Addiction negatively affects an individual’s judgment and bodily functions. Many people become consumed in their addiction and end up revolving their day around being able to use drugs or alcohol again. This thought process, in combination with the negative consequences, can lead to dangerous circumstances. This is why it’s extremely important to get help as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
There is a wide range of symptoms that may occur with certain drugs over others. Not all symptoms need to be present for an addiction to be present. If you notice any of these symptoms or signs in a loved one, it is recommended that you seek help as soon as possible.
In general, some of the common signs of addiction include the following:
- Intense mood swings
- Change in friends and social groups
- Financially irresponsible/unpredictable
- Unexplained outings (sometimes urgent)
- Drug paraphernalia including pipes, cigarette papers, etc.
- Tolerance to drugs (using in excess to gain desired effects)
- ‘Stashes’ of drugs in plastic bags or small storage containers
- Erratic sleep schedule (sleeping more or less, sleeping at unusual times)
Along with these signs, some severe withdrawal symptoms (depending on the drug) and other short-term and long-term effects can occur. These effects can have a negative impact on the individual if left untreated.
A dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, means that a person has both a mental health disorder and an alcohol/drug addiction. The two occur together frequently and can often feed off each other as time goes on.
PTSD and substance abuse are frequently diagnosed together and can become a more severe problem if not treated on time. A combination of PTSD and alcohol/drug abuse can be seen in individuals. Currently, millions of adults have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a percentage tend to have co-occurring disorders.
It’s crucial to speak to medical professionals as soon as possible to fully understand the scope of a dual diagnosis. PTSD and substance abuse are treatable if both elements are addressed during the road to recovery.
How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Work?
In a case of dual diagnosis, it is important to treat both the mental health disorder and the addiction with care and attention. In a dual diagnosis, the individual will work through multiple facets of treatment and evidence-based therapies to address both the diagnosis.
Daylight Recovery Services can provide you with medical resources and a compassionate team for both your mental health disorder and addiction. It’s extremely important to approach both conditions seriously, and with great care. That’s why Daylight Recovery Services is ready to make your journey to recovery safe and reliable.
Types of Therapy During Treatment
A dual diagnosis like PTSD and substance abuse is typically treated with therapy. Treatment can vary between the two conditions, but therapies will be used for both throughout the process. Different therapies can address the different elements of each disorder so the person can begin to cope with their co-occurring disorders.
Individual therapy includes a one-on-one session with a licensed therapist. During the session, the recovering individual will have a chance to discuss and address PTSD and their addiction in a safe and open environment.
Many different kinds of therapies can help to treat PTSD and substance abuse simultaneously. Cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, and eye-movement repressing based approaches can also be a part of the sessions.
Group therapy is another effective option when dealing with PTSD and substance abuse. While working to address both the conditions, it is important to be in a supportive and welcoming environment. Group therapy allows other peers to support each other while sharing their own stories along the way.
This type of therapy can help the recovery process and provide fulfillment as you get support while supporting others in the same situation as you. It is an open space to share your thoughts and struggles with those who truly care.
In some cases, family therapy is the perfect way to move towards recovery with your family by your side. Family therapy allows beneficial participation for those close to you, like parents, siblings, spouses, and friends.
Creating a supportive and healthy environment is an essential part of the recovery process and having a family to lean on can be extremely beneficial to the recovering individual.
Treatment and Services for PTSD and Substance Abuse Recovery
At Daylight Recovery Services, we use evidence-based therapies and all our resources to make sure that you and your loved ones are able to heal and recover from both PTSD and addiction.
Typically rehab treatment begins with medical detox, this is the first step towards making sure the person is ready for treatment. In this stage, the person is purged of all substances and alcohol in the body. It is a safe and trusted procedure that enables the person to recover.
Inpatient treatment is the highest level of care for severe cases. It is a great option for long-term recovery and offers a wide range of resources to aid the person with PTSD and addiction recovery. Each day is structured towards therapy and support to address the two conditions.
Our residential program offers a safe, welcoming environment and a staff of passionate and qualified professionals that will be by your side whenever you need them. Our staff is ready 24/7 to ensure client safety and comfortability through the process.
Overcoming addiction is a tremendous achievement. The journey to recovery is certainly a difficult one. But the reward of sobriety and freedom from addiction is incomparable! This is why it is so important for individuals who go through treatment to remain on track after rehab is over.
But this can be challenging due to the difficulties that arise on the road to recovery. This is where relapse prevention comes into play. Here at Daylight, we work to equip our clients with the tools they’ll need in order to stay free from substance abuse.
Don’t Wait; Get Help Today!
At Daylight Recovery Services, we understand the importance of treating dual-diagnosis like PTSD and addiction, with care and high-quality treatment options. Here’s just some of the treatment options we are able to provide for you or a loved one in need:
- Rehab amenities
- Individual therapy
- Comfortable residential program
- Group therapy (for those also dealing with a co-occurring disorder)
- Medication therapy to help manage psychiatric symptoms
- Meditation, yoga, reiki and other holistic therapies
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD and addiction, please contact us by visiting our website. Gain more information about treatment options today.