A person’s mental health condition can influence his or her drug or alcohol abuse. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that causes depression, intense anxiety, and intrusive memories or flashbacks that interfere with life. Many people develop PTSD from childhood abuse, military combat, natural disasters, or sexual assault. First responders are at risk of PTSD due to on-scene tragedies, accidents, or crimes.

People with PTSD often turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress their pain. Substance abuse with PTSD is treated as a dual diagnosis – one from an impairing psychiatric disorder and the other a substance addiction. A person with PTSD abuses drugs or alcohol as a way to seek temporary relief from the reality of daily life. He or she uses more and more to escape from painful memories and flashbacks, which increases the risk of drug or alcohol addiction.

A person with a dual diagnosis needs to get treatment immediately for his or her mental condition and addiction. A medical professional or medical team monitors the combined treatment and medication if needed. Many drugs can worsen symptoms of PTSD and cause physical impairment, overdose, or death. Alcohol abuse damages the brain’s function and causes physical damage to major organs in the body. Alcohol affects a person’s critical thinking, vision, speech, coordination, movement, and can cause overdose or death.

A person with PTSD is at high risk of substance abuse but when treated, the risk for substance abuse lessens. PTSD causes angry outbursts, feelings of helplessness, aggressive behavior, and restlessness. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD and drug or alcohol abuse often experience other disorders such as depression, chronic pain, chronic illness, or attention deficit disorder.

People living with PTSD often relive traumatic events, have nightmares, and can become socially withdrawn. A person with PTSD can feel ashamed or guilty from the trauma and be reluctant to seek help. When a person with PTSD and substance abuse goes to treatment, he or she needs intense support and encouragement from family and friends. A dual diagnosis can be difficult to treat, but recovery is possible.

Do not let addiction destroy your life. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, get help today. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment and encompasses holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul with a focus on staying active and connected to nature. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: 310-881-9151

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