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Things to Know About PTSD and Addiction

Person crawls into ball thinking about things to know about PTSD and addiction

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction have a strong, complex relationship. Individuals suffering from PTSD are more likely to turn to substances as a coping mechanism, and individuals with substance use disorders are more likely to develop PTSD. There are a few important things to know about PTSD and addiction that can help better understand and treat these co-occurring disorders.

At Northpoint Omaha, our PTSD treatment program is designed to address both trauma and addiction simultaneously, allowing for a comprehensive approach to recovery. Contact us at 888.687.8014 today to learn more.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. These events could be:

  • Violent personal assaults
  • Natural disasters
  • Accidents
  • Military combat
  • Other life-threatening events

During a traumatic event, the brain releases stress hormones that trigger the “fight or flight” response. This response is a normal reaction to danger and helps protect us from harm. However, in individuals with PTSD, this response gets activated even when there is no real threat present.

The Strong Link Between PTSD and Addiction

Research has shown a strong correlation between PTSD and addiction. One reason is that those who have PTSD often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their symptoms – a process known as self-medication. Substance use may temporarily relieve feelings of anxiety, depression, and other PTSD symptoms. However, it can quickly lead to addiction and worsen the symptoms of PTSD in the long run.

PSTD Addiction Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of PTSD addiction can vary depending on the individual’s experiences, but there are a few common ones to look out for. These include:

  • Using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions related to traumatic events
  • Difficulty controlling substance use, leading to excessive consumption
  • Increased tolerance for substances, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit or cut back on substance use
  • Neglecting responsibilities and relationships due to substance use

Due to the strong connection between PTSD and addiction, it is crucial to address both disorders simultaneously in treatment.

Things to Know About PTSD and Addiction

Here are a few things to know about PTSD and addiction:

  1. Co-occurring disorders – PTSD and addiction often occur together, known as co-occurring disorders. These conditions can exacerbate each other, making it harder for individuals to recover from either condition without treating both simultaneously.
  2. PTSD triggers substance abuse – As mentioned earlier, individuals with PTSD often use substances to cope with their symptoms. This can quickly lead to addiction.
  3. Addiction worsens PTSD symptoms – While substances may provide temporary relief, they often worsen PTSD symptoms in the long run.
  4. Shared risk factors – Both PTSD and addiction have shared risk factors, including genetics, environmental influences, and changes in the brain’s structure and function.
  5. Effective treatment – Treating PTSD and addiction simultaneously has shown to be more effective in long-term recovery than treating them separately.

At Northpoint Omaha, we understand the complex relationship between PTSD and addiction and have developed a specialized program to address both conditions.

Can Substance Use Cause PTSD?

While substance use can certainly worsen PTSD symptoms, it is not considered a direct cause of the disorder. However, there is evidence that prolonged substance abuse can lead to changes in brain structure and function, making individuals more susceptible to developing PTSD after a traumatic event.

Drinking or using drugs may also increase the likelihood of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events, such as accidents or violence. Therefore, it is essential to address substance use in PTSD treatment.

How Treatment Helps

At Northpoint Recovery Omaha, we understand the complexities of treating co-occurring PTSD and addiction. We offer a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously. Our team of professionals provides personalized treatment plans that include therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

With our help, individuals can learn healthier coping mechanisms, process their trauma in a safe environment, and develop strategies to maintain a healthier life. Our flexible outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while maintaining their daily responsibilities.

Call Northpoint Omaha Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD and addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out to Northpoint Recovery Omaha. Our compassionate and dedicated team is here to provide the care and support you need on your journey towards recovery. Contact us online or call 888.687.8014. Let us help you regain control of your life. Remember, recovery is possible, and you are not alone.