Family History and PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder. People develop this problem through exposure to a terrifying event or situation in which they feel threatened or seriously harmed. PTSD patients may experience the following:
- Overwhelming feelings of guilt
- Impulsive behavior
- A desire to harm themselves
There are specific diagnostic criteria to diagnose PTSD, and typically PTSD patients exude symptoms for more than one month. The symptoms of PTSD often fall into three categories:
- Flashbacks – repeatedly experiencing feelings associated with the traumatic event.
- Avoidance – taking extreme measures to avoid any activity associated with the traumatic event.
- Hyper-arousal – being extremely vigilant about all activities.
The Role of Family History in PTSD
There is no specific relationship between family history and PTSD; the most significant contributor to a person experiencing PTSD is a traumatic event. However, if the dynamics of a family do not prepare a person to deal effectively with trauma, that person may be predisposed. For example, if a person lives in a family where a parent has a history of anxiety, the child recognizes this lifestyle and may view it as normal when it is not. In addition, if a parent has PTSD and she has not received treatment, she will teach damaging adaptive behaviors to her children. Because these children have not learned effective methods of coping with trauma, they may be more susceptible to having PTSD than a child that has learned healthy and effective ways to deal with issues.
If a parent has PTSD, he may be emotionally unavailable or not as supportive of his children, which may result in the child feeling uncertain, insecure, or unworthy. These types of feelings can damage a child’s sense of value and esteem which can inhibit the way a child handles stressful situations.
Verbally violent divorces can also cause a child to become ill-prepared to deal with stress, along with living with an addicted parent or sibling, and living in a physically or emotionally abusive setting.
Treatment for PTSD
PTSD patients are often susceptible to self-medicating in an effort to relieve their emotional turmoil. As such, drugs and alcohol can lead to co-occurring ailments, a mental health issue and an addiction.
Integrated treatment programs are specifically designed to treat co-occurring conditions with Dual Diagnosis Treatment. This model focuses on combining (integrating) treatment for both conditions under one treatment plan to afford patients the best opportunity to heal mentally and recover from their addiction.
When treating PTSD, integrated treatment programs will often include behavioral therapy programs that increase the awareness of the PTSD and teach effective strategies for dealing with it. These strategies include the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – the focus is to change how the person feels about the trauma and learn coping skills.
- Exposure therapy – the focus is to lessen the fear about the trauma by being exposed to it in a more controlled and objective manner. Through these controlled experiences, patients are able to learn new ways to react.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Help for PTSD
If you or someone you know is suffering with a dual diagnosis condition, you may need help or advice about the most appropriate rehab services. While recovery from abuse and mental health issues is difficult, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about Dual Diagnosis Treatment. We are here to help.