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When Depressants and PTSD Mix

When Depressants and PTSD Mix

When Depressants and PTSD Mix

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition caused by trauma. Any devastating event can generate feelings of despair and powerlessness, emotions that can set the stage for this disorder. The following situations readily induce this disorder:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Natural disasters, such as tornados or floods
  • Neglect
  • Rape
  • Crashes
  • Physical abuse

Most people can work through their problematic feelings to weaken them over time. However, people with PTSD repeatedly relive problematic experiences, so they feel the emotional effects over and over again.

Who Develops PTSD?

Although anyone can develop PTSD, individuals with the following characteristics have a higher risk of experiencing it:

  • Inadequate coping skills
  • Weak support system
  • Elevated stress on a daily basis
  • History of mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
  • Prior traumatic experience at a developmental stage
  • Family history of PTSD
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Physical or sexual abuse history

Symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating and persist for months, years and decades after the incident actually happens. People with this condition may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Nightmares
  • A sense of overwhelming distress triggered by reminders of the trauma
  • Flashbacks
  • Physiological responses to reminders of the event, such as sweating and a fast heart rate
  • Avoiding thoughts, conversations or feelings about the event
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Emotional numbness
  • Intense startle reflex
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

PTSD tends to persist unless people seek professional treatment. Trauma causes the body to boost endorphin production to withstand trauma, but such reactions are unnecessary, and they will plague patients until they seek help.

Depressants and PTSD

Many people abuse drugs and alcohol to escape problematic symptoms. In fact, some recovery experts estimate that 50% of people with PTSD are alcoholics, and over 30% of them abuse drugs like prescription pills. When the event ends, the body experiences endorphin withdrawal that resembles withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and drugs. Recovery professionals believe that people with PTSD want to replace the feelings brought on by the brain’s natural production of endorphins, but, when the temporary boost wears off, drug users often feels worse than before, because drug withdrawal increases feelings of anxiety and depression.

Treating PTSD and Depressant Abuse

The best solution for someone with PTSD and a co-occurring depressant addiction is to seek recovery in integrated treatment. This type of care will offer the following options:

  • Psychotherapy that teaches people to handle triggers for PTSD and substance abuse
  • Group counseling with people who suffer from PTSD and prescription drug addiction
  • Family counseling that strengthens primary relationships
  • Connections to 12-Step groups to fortify people’s support systems once treatment ends
  • Medical experts who can prescribe appropriate medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety pills

Tackling two problems at once can seem like a tall order, which is why it is important for people with PTSD to get ample support and positive reinforcement. With professional care and the backing of loved ones, full recovery is possible.

Recovery from PTSD and Prescription Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love struggles with PTSD and addiction, know that help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. Do not go it alone when assistance is just one phone call away.

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