How Alcohol Affects PTSD

How Alcohol Affects PTSDPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make living each day stressful, difficult and scary. As an easy release, many of those with PTSD will turn to alcohol to help alleviate some of the stress and depression that comes along with the disorder. This is a dangerous combination, as drinking alcohol while suffering from a pre-existing condition such as PTSD can cause even more severe problems.

How Alcohol Affects PTSD

PTSD comes with its own difficulties, and drinking too much alcohol can make these problems flare up as well as create more issues.

  • Managing stress: The stress that has been caused by the traumatic event can be so overwhelming that it can be difficult to function. From getting out of bed to handling minor stressors throughout the day, a person with PTSD is likely to have little tolerance for chaotic, new, or stressful situations. Drinking to cope with these symptoms can create more accidents and mistakes, making the user’s current situation more complicated.
  • Sleeping well: PTSD can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Between the vivid nightmares and tossing and turning, a person with PTSD can have difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep. Using alcohol to fall asleep faster, however, just delays the process of working through the symptoms and root causes of PTSD. Drinking to fall asleep also promotes broken sleep patterns, and nightmares might be heightened by the effects of alcohol on the brain.
  • Stopping cold turkey: If individuals using alcohol to sleep suddenly stop drinking before bed, the intensity of their nightmares may actually increase. As the brain tries to regain its focus, it can create more vivid imagery and confusion as sleep occurs, contributing to more difficulties with PTSD.

Individuals suffering from PTSD need to focus on healing their disorder. By attempting to self-medicate with alcohol, the problem will grow worse at a much faster pace. The best way to manage PTSD is with the help of a trained professional or support group, and without the interference of another substance such as alcohol.

Do You Have a Problem With PTSD and Alcohol?

If you are struggling with PTSD and alcohol addiction, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Our trained addiction counselors are standing by to help you get the treatment and support you need to get sober and begin to heal from PTSD. Call us today.