Types of Substances Abused by Individuals with PTSD

Types of Substances Abused by Individuals with PTSDPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious physical and psychological disorder caused by exposure to emotionally intense and traumatic events. It is commonly experienced by people in the following situations:

  • Soldiers in combat
  • Victims of violent crime
  • Emergency first responders
  • Victims of bullying
  • People who face the sudden death of a loved one
  • Victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and tsunamis

The symptoms of PTSD include panic attacks, flashbacks, night terrors, emotional distance and depression. Many individuals with PTSD do not realize that they are suffering from the condition and resort to self-medication through substance abuse. Some substances that are commonly abused by victims of PTSD include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates such as prescription painkillers, heroin and opium
  • Prescription antidepressants
  • Hallucinogens

Some PTSD sufferers may also become addicted to certain behaviors such as sex, gambling, thrill-seeking or self-injury as these all cause the release of certain positive chemicals in the brain.

Successfully Treating PTSD and Addiction

If a person becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol or behavior due to PTSD, he requires more than just physical detox in order to find recovery. If the underlying condition is not addressed, he is likely to relapse back into substance abuse and addiction. The most effective treatment programs understand this and use comprehensive, fully integrated physical and psychological therapy to help patients find freedom from all aspects of the disease.

Some of the most effective and commonly used treatment techniques include the following:

  • Detailed diagnosis of all aspects of the disease
  • Careful medical treatment
  • Personal counseling of various techniques
  • Support group meetings
  • Instruction in healthy new coping strategies and skills

In some cases, PTSD is caused by the inability of the brain to fully process the emotions associated with the trauma experienced. This may result in an emotional blockage that the brain continues to experience. Effective treatment allows the patient to process these emotions in a healthy way and move on.

Finding Help for PTSD and Addiction Treatment

Although much about this disease remains mysterious to medical and psychological researchers, recent breakthroughs have resulted in important new understandings about how it works and how it may be treated. If you are struggling with PTSD or addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about PTSD, substance abuse and treatment. We can even connect you with the most effective treatment program for your specific needs.

If left untreated, PTSD can be fatal. If you or someone you love has been exposed to trauma and are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, please call today. We can help.