Get the Facts on Alcohol Abuse and PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, causes plenty of problems on its own. When combined with alcohol abuse, it can mean big trouble for the person going through PTSD and his or her loved ones. Whether caused by experiences in a war zone, a severe accident, or some type of physical or sexual abuse, PTSD must be addressed in order to find peace and happiness.
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The Vicious Cycle of Alcoholism and PTSD
PTSD and alcohol abuse make a common pairing. Drinking can momentarily calm the pain and fear triggered by the disorder. The problem comes when alcohol becomes the favored coping mechanism. The more you drink to stifle the symptoms of PTSD, the more you have to drink to get through each day. Once this cycle gets going, it’s difficult to stop.
People with PTSD are more likely to develop drinking problems than others from similar backgrounds. Up to 75 percent of those who have gone through abusive situations or violent trauma report struggles with alcohol. Drinking problems are most common in survivors with ongoing pain or other health issues.
War veterans with PTSD tend to become binge drinkers, and these binges often come in response to memories of trauma. Veterans with PTSD who are 65 or older are at higher risk of suicide if alcohol abuse accompanies the disorder.
Know the Symptoms of PTSD
The signs and symptoms of PTSD vary widely, because the trauma that creates the disorder is different for every individual. In general, PTSD makes a person feel uncomfortable in his or her own skin to the point of manic behavior. The fact that its warning signs are so divergent makes it hard to tell if you have PTSD, which is why counseling is so important if you have a drinking problem. The isolation and loneliness brought on by PTSD can and does lead to suicidal thoughts, so it is not something to be taken lightly.
Some common warning signs of PTSD are panic attacks, compulsive behaviors, difficulty sleeping, and sensitivity to loud noises. Mood problems such as general depression may also be present, as well as a shortened attention span.
If you have experienced any of these things along with alcohol abuse, the time to find the right treatment program is now.
Rehab-Finder.Org Can Find the Right Rehab for You. Call Our 24-Hour Hotline: 877-251-4813.
How Alcohol Magnifies the Ill Effects of PTSD
The anxiety and violent outbursts PTSD can create become even worse when accompanied by alcohol abuse. Relationships with friends, family members, and significant others become strained along the way, and it becomes harder to deal with emotions and fears. The confusion of life with a drinking problem causes you to keep loved ones at a distance, even if they want to help you.
“We believe your goal must be not just to stop drinking, but to be healthy and happy in your everyday life.”
Alcohol abuse also makes it harder for you to cope with trauma-related memories and the stress that comes along with them. Drinking can actually increase PTSD symptoms, especially depression and irritability. Self-medicating with alcohol will also lead to sleep disruption, and getting plenty of rest is one of the most important aspects of achieving recovery.
When it comes to PTSD, alcohol abuse is simply a form of avoidance. What makes the situation even sadder is the fact that trying to avoid traumatic memories and stave off bad dreams only prolongs PTSD’s lifespan. This is why you must work to get past whatever caused the trauma in the first place, and why a combined treatment program is typically the best course of action.
The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment
If you have PTSD and problems with alcohol abuse, a Dual Diagnosis treatment method is the best way to achieve lasting results. After all, simply treating alcoholism won’t deal with the emotional trauma that causes your behavioral problems and panic attacks. You need real-life coping mechanisms for both PTSD and alcohol abuse, and you will learn them through a combined treatment approach.
“Isolating the true cause of your depression is an essential first step.”
As you go through well-planned detox and gain coping skills to overcome the urge to drink, you will find it easier to confront your anxieties. Through supportive counseling and therapy, you can address the traumatic experiences that continue to cause distress. By combining PTSD issues and alcohol abuse, your recovery will be more meaningful in the long run. Just as each problem builds on and worsens the other, taking them on together gives you more power to solve them. Your recovery will be accelerated when you home in on the right integrated treatment style.
Getting to the underlying issues is another positive outcome of a Dual Diagnosis treatment approach. When you learn why you respond to certain memories and experiences in harmful ways, it’s easier to get those responses under control. Once you stop drinking, you will likely make faster progress in dealing with your PTSD symptoms and triggers. We believe your goal must be not just to stop drinking, but to be healthy and happy in your everyday life.
Learn more about dual diagnosis.
It’s Time to Get the Help You Need
We are here to help you find the right treatment option for your specific needs. Waiting to get help will only make your PTSD worse, which in turn will accelerate your adverse drinking behaviors. With an appropriate combination of counseling and addiction treatments, you can break the cycle and get back to your old self.
It is possible to achieve full recovery, no matter what you have been through in the past. Make the call today to get started on the road to a healthier and happier you.
Let Rehab-Finder.Org help you take the first step toward addressing your PTSD and your recovery from alcohol abuse. Call our 24-Hour hotline: 877-251-4813.