Time Magazine recently revealed that 50 to 66 percent of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also experience addiction. These two conditions often go together as a dual diagnosis because of the dramatic symptoms of PTSD. Those suffering the co-occurring conditions usually started abusing drugs or alcohol to feel more stable. Instead of improving their conditions through self-medication, they find themselves needing both addiction and PTSD treatment.
What is PTSD?
PTSD affects about seven or eight percent of all American adults. This bundle of symptoms starts sometime after you experience any traumatic event. Many men and women serving in the military go through PTSD after returning home from war, for example. Others start experiencing symptoms after being victimized by a crime, living through an injury, or losing a loved one.
PTSD starts with particular events of trauma. The brain starts your fight or flight response, one changing your brain chemicals, heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature. You become hyper-aware and highly focused on your survival. Your adrenaline flows, and you sleep little.
These fight or flight reactions serve a very clear purpose of helping you survive in dangerous situations. But once the danger ends, sometimes the brain doesn’t go back to normal. It keeps you on alert when you don’t need to flee danger. That brings on a collection of difficult symptoms, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleeplessness and nightmares
- High blood pressure and rapid heart rate
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Isolation, even from loved ones
- Flashbacks and scary thoughts
- Easily triggered startle response and mood problems
With all of these symptoms continuing for years, you grow tired of feeling like your life remains in chaos. People with PTSD seek stability, sleep, and peace, sometimes through drinking or drug abuse. At first, they feel better when using these substances but soon fall into addiction.
A Never-Ending Cycle of Trauma and Addiction
When you first start abusing drugs or alcohol with PTSD, your brain produces more dopamine. This dopamine is the brain’s natural feel-good chemical. As a result, you feel happier, lighter, and carefree for the first time since the traumatic events happened.
However, within a short period, your brain adapts to having the substances in your system. This means it stops giving you the pleasure reward, no longer helping you feel good. This is the stage of tolerance, just before full-fledged addiction takes over. So you use more of your substances to feel the good feelings again.
Tolerance is the trap door leading to addiction. Soon you enter physical and psychological dependence on your substances, needing them to get through daily life. Without them, you feel the ill symptoms of withdrawal. No longer just using your substances to self-medicate your PTSD, you find yourself needing them just to function at a very basic level in your life.
Addiction and PTSD Treatment Go Together
With co-occurring conditions like PTSD and addiction, you must treat both problems for the best outcome. If you do not treat both, one triggers the other to relapse. After all, not going through PTSD treatment keeps that condition active and you risk seeking drugs or alcohol to help you feel better again. This holds true even though you know addiction solves none of your problems and only makes your life worse.
PTSD treatment centers in Memphis call addiction and PTSD treatment together dual diagnosis treatment. A dual diagnosis program heals your addiction, giving you coping skills and insights into your disease so that you can live a fulfilling life. The PTSD treatment you go through in a dual diagnosis program also treats all of your PTSD symptoms.
After this treatment for addiction and PTSD, you return home to a much more stable, productive, and happy life. Of course, the road to recovery is never easy. You need a mix of therapies, education, and support to get to a place of healing and rebuilding. You can access that help in PTSD treatment centers in Memphis.
Memphis Recovery Provides Treatment for Addiction and PTSD
At Memphis Recovery you gain the PTSD and addiction treatment you need for a brighter future. One of the few quality PTSD treatment centers in Memphis accredited by CARF, Memphis Recovery Centers provides adults and adolescents with trauma therapies, coping skills education, and addiction treatment in one recovery program.
Memphis Recovery Centers’ programs include:
- Residential rehab
- Trauma therapy
- Individual, group, and family therapies
- Dual diagnosis program
- Step-down PHP and IOP
- Music and art therapies
- Six months of aftercare
Treatment at Memphis Recovery Centers provides the lifesaving addiction and PTSD treatment you need for recovery from both conditions. So call Memphis Recovery Centers now at 866-304-8254.