PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is a type of anxiety disorder that most commonly develops after a person experiences a severely distressing event or events. PTSD is commonly associated with war veterans, but it also can occur after physical or psychological abuse, rape, or the death of a loved one. In order to heal from this condition, PTSD treatment is necessary.
Substance and/or alcohol use can become a way for people suffering with PTSD to relieve their symptoms, in which case both the addiction and PTSD would need to be treated in order to offer an effective remedy.
PTSD and the Brain
When a person suffers a traumatic event, alterations to brain function can be detected. According to research, the main areas of the brain affected by trauma are the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. The hippocampus primarily deals with long-term and spatial memory and behavioral inhibition. While the prefrontal cortex controls executive functions, such as differentiating between conflicting thoughts.
How PTSD affects these parts of the brain is dependent on several factors such as age and whether or not there are other underlying mental conditions present. Either way, PTSD is often a life long disorder that can benefit greatly from PTSD treatment.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, to be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Around 8 percent of Americans will develop PTSD at some point in their lifetime, according to a study published in the US Library of National Medicine. Not all people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Substance Abuse and PTSD
According to recent research, nearly half of the people who meet the criteria for PTSD also suffer from drug or alcohol dependence. In many cases, people attempt to self-soothe the distress caused from PTSD, and in the process, end up developing a substance use disorder.
PTSD can leave a person feeling hopeless and alone. One of the most common dual diagnoses with PTSD is opioid addiction. Opioids have the effect of inducing a feeling of pleasure or calm. In the case where PTSD develops after a horrific accident, pain medication can be prescribed for severe injuries, which then becomes a crutch for the PTSD.
For people dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as substance abuse and PTSD, entering into a treatment facility that offers dual diagnosis would prove greatly beneficial. Integrated treatment takes the approach of treating all co-occurring disorders as a whole. It doesn’t matter which came first, what matters is identifying and treating all underlying issues in order to establish an overall recovery.
Types of PTSD Treatment
- Trauma therapy program
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
- Prolonged Exposure
Not all treatment centers treat co-occurring illnesses simultaneously. The old model of treatment most often treats the substance abuse first and then the other mental illness afterward. This often means that there are different therapists working relative to which illness is being treated.
The newer model treats all illnesses simultaneously, seeing them all as part of the same knot. First Step Center of Arizona offers integrated treatment with dual diagnosis and a team of addiction specialists committed to the total recovery of you or your loved one.
First Step Center understands the severity of need for PTSD treatment in order to create a total recovery. Don’t wait another minute, your life or someone you love is in danger. Contact First Step Center now at 866.832.6398.