PTSD Addiction

PTSD and Addiction

Individuals with PTSD may turn to substances as a way to self-medicate and numb the overwhelming emotions and memories associated with their trauma.

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Home Chronic Relapse Dual Diagnosis Mental Health PTSD and Addiction Treatment in Colorado

PTSD and Addiction Treatment in Colorado

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While many people associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with first responders or people who have served in the military, PTSD is not exclusive to just those fields.

Any real-life event that can cause or lead to long-term distress can ultimately result in the development of PTSD. For some, their symptoms are so severe that they become debilitating, making it difficult for them to go about their daily life in a normal way.

Unfortunately, there is also a strong correlation between PTSD and addiction. Many who suffer from PTSD don’t seek professional treatment for their mental health struggles, instead turning to drugs and alcohol for relief.

If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD and addiction Jaywalker in Carbondale, Colorado can help. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between the two as well as ways that you can get the professional help that you need.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Examples of traumatic events include:

  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Combat exposure
  • Accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Life-threatening incidents (either happening directly to the person or as a witness)

People with PTSD may experience distressing and persistent symptoms that significantly impact their daily lives.

PTSD and Addiction Statistics

The link between PTSD and substance abuse is significant. In fact, according to The Library of National Medicine, nearly half of all people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder also meet the criteria for substance use disorder.

Below are some additional facts and statistics about the correlation between PTSD and substance abuse from tthe National Library of Medicine:

  • 9% of women and 51.9% of me with PTSD also have a substance use disorder.
  • Women with PTSD were 2.48 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and 4.46 times more likely to meet the criteria for drug abuse than women without PTSD.
  • Men with PTSD were 2.06 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and 2.97 times more likely to meet the criteria for drug abuse than women without PTSD.

A big reason for this is that many people struggling mentally turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate. They often drink or use drugs to forget about their dual diagnosis treatment center and feel better, even if that feeling only lasts for a short time.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

While PTSD can occur in several different ways, and symptoms can vary from person to person, there are some signs and symptoms of PTSD that are more common than others.

Some of the more common signs and symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks or intrusive memories of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares or disturbing dreams related to the trauma
  • Avoidance of triggers or reminders associated with the trauma
  • Hypervigilance or being constantly on edge
  • Negative thoughts and mood changes
  • Feeling detached from others or emotionally numb
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or oversleeping
  • Being unable to remember key parts of the trauma
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Being unable to experience positive emotions
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Being startles easily

To be formally diagnosed with PTSD, a person must experience multiple of the above symptoms for at least one month. Additionally, symptoms must be severe or extreme enough to make it difficult or debilitating to function normally including going to work or school or the ability for the person to take care of themselves.

Causes/Risk Factors for PTSD

While anyone can develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of its development.

These risk factors include:

  • History of trauma
    Childhood abuse (physical, mental, or both)
  • Family history of mental health disorders
  • Lack of support, especially at a young age
  • Presence of other mental health conditions

Understanding these factors can help in identifying individuals who may be at a higher risk for developing PTSD.

Can PTSD and Addiction Co-Occur?

Not only can PTSD and substance abuse co-occur, but as we mentioned earlier, the two co-occurring can be fairly common.

People suffering from PTSD often turn to substances like alcohol, benzos, prescription drugs such as opioids, or stimulants as a way to self-medicate and get some form of relief from their struggles, even if that relief is only brief.

Oftentimes what happens though, is that these substances end up making their existing issues worse in the long run, while also leading to additional physical and mental issues including addiction.

Alcohol is a commonly abused substance among individuals with PTSD. It may be used to numb emotional pain, alleviate anxiety, or escape from traumatic memories. However, alcohol exacerbates PTSD symptoms over time and can even interfere with men’s alcohol rehab.

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are prescription medications often used to treat anxiety disorders. While they may be prescribed to those suffering from PTSD as well, they can be highly addictive.

Someone taking Benzos as a form of treatment for PTSD should take them only as directed and should consult a medical professional before stopping taking Benzos entirely.

Prescription opioids are powerful pain-relieving medications that can be misused and lead to addiction. Individuals with PTSD may opioids treatment center colorado to manage the physical and emotional pain associated with their trauma. Careful evaluation and alternative pain management strategies should be employed to prevent the misuse of opioids in individuals with PTSD.

Stimulant drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines, may be used by individuals with PTSD to increase alertness or reduce fatigue. However, these substances can worsen anxiety and sleep disturbances commonly experienced in PTSD.

PTSD and Addiction Treatment

At Jaywalker, we offer integrated treatment programs designed to address PTSD and addiction concurrently. Our experienced team of professionals utilizes evidence-based approaches to provide comprehensive care.

For those suffering from co-occurring disorders such as PTSD and substance use disorder, medications may be used to help treat some of the side effects and symptoms of both the mental health condition and substance addiction.

For those suffering from PTSD and substance addiction specifically, antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be used to alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms that coincide with PTSD, while disulfiram and naltrexone may be administered to help with the addiction recovery process.

Various types of therapies can be used to address both PTSD and addiction at the same time.

One of the more common and effective therapies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps Jaywalkers identify and modify unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. Once those thought patterns and behaviors have been identified, Jaywalkers can learn how to better cope with those thoughts and behaviors without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Another therapy that has proven to be effective is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a specialized therapy that focuses on properly processing traumatic memories.

The Landing is our residential treatment program. It is a 90-day program set in the Rockie Mountains which provides a serene and supportive setting for Jaywalkers to heal from both PTSD and addiction.

The Landing offers a structured and peer-driven community with daily activities including therapy groups, community involvement, written Step One work, and didactic presentations.

As is the case with other inpatient treatment programs, at the Landing, Jaywalkers receive a structured schedule that they are expected to adhere to. Their schedule will include individual sessions with addiction clinicians, spiritual care staff, fitness/wellness specialists, and mental health care professionals as well as group therapy, lectures, and expeditions.

Upon completion of the Lodge program, Jaywalkers will transition to Solutions, Jaywalker Lodge’s 90-day transitional program.

Solutions is a Stage 2 recovery model designed to help our clients implement a sober lifestyle that mirrors independent living. Through a wide range of weekly activities, Jaywalkers create personal accountability in an organized and supportive atmosphere.

As part of the Solutions Program, Jaywalkers regularly volunteer with local groups in and around Carbondale including Colorado Animal Rescue, the Aspen Homeless Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, and Volunteer Outdoor Colorado.

Jaywalker Can Help You Get Your Life Back

At Jaywalker, we understand the complex relationship between substance abuse, addiction, and mental health disorders, including PTSD and addiction.

That’s why we offer a variety of therapies and treatment methods designed to fit each Jaywalker and their unique needs. If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD and addiction, contact us today to learn more about the programs that we offer and how we can help you get on the road to recovery.

Experience the world-class men's treatment center in Carbondale, CO

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