People who are living with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at high risk of developing an addiction. Those suffering from PTSD carry around agonizing memories of past events that are so powerful that they produce symptoms which have the potential to rob them of experiencing many of the joys of life. Not everyone who goes through a traumatic experience develops PTSD and/or and addiction.
PTSD And Co-Occurring Disorders
When both health concerns are present in the same person, they are referred to as co-occurring disorders and require specialized mental health treatment.
PTSD is a group of symptoms that can affect people who have experienced a traumatic event.
For some people affected with PTSD, the symptoms start about three months after the initial event but in other instances they don’t start until years later.
Every case and individual is different. This is why an individualized approach to PTSD treatment must occur to effectively and successfully treat the person affected with this mental health disorder.
Experiences That Can Lead To PTSD
The types of experiences that can lead to PTSD include:
- War (either as a combatant or a civilian)
- Severe accidents or natural disasters
- Physical or sexual abuse during childhood
- Being the victim of/witnessing a violent crime, including sexual assault
- Terrorist attacks
Symptoms Of PTSD
Signs and symptoms of PTSD include:
- Losing interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, including spending time with loved ones
- Inability to concentrate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Avoidance of stimuli that triggers memories of the initial trauma
Drug Use And PTSD
People who are experiencing these types of symptoms may turn to drugs and/or alcohol to get temporary relief from their symptoms. Continued use of these substances can easily open the door to addiction.
Some drugs can make feelings of anxiety, depression or emotional numbness worse, especially once the high wears off. They are not a safe or truly effective way to deal with PTSD symptoms.
Treatment For PTSD And Addiction
At Maryland Recovery, we treat PTSD and addiction concurrently. The types of treatment that are helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), (which involves helping a client change the way he or she thinks about the trauma to learn how to change his or her behavior), individual and group therapy, holistic programs and much more.
We develop an individual treatment plan for each client, and offer a high level of support for those with co-occurring disorders every step of the way toward recovery from their mental health disorder as well as their addiction.
If You Or Someone You Know Needs Mental Health Treatment And Is Struggling With Addiction –
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Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.