Two weeks ago we discussed National Depression Education and Awareness Month at length. As we pointed out, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide. This week, we would like to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring substance use disorder.
With Veterans Day four days away, now is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness about some of the struggles that the bravest Americans face. PTSD impacts the heroes who risk life and limb to protect America at home and abroad from their experiences. Both veterans and active service members are at a heightened risk of developing mood disorders, most notably PTSD and depression.
Those who are unable or unwilling to seek assistance are predisposed to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Self-harming and self-defeating behaviors like drug and alcohol use are common among our nation’s heroes. Such practices put men and women at risk of developing alcohol and substance use disorders.
It’s vital to spread the message that PTSD and addiction recovery is possible for those who seek professional assistance. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we created a Heroes Program for any individuals whose line of work puts them at risk of experiencing trauma, PTSD, and chemical dependency.
PTSD and Addiction: By the Numbers
Whether one is a civilian fighting fire or responding to medical emergencies or those who see combat, traumatic events place people at enormous risk of experiencing behavioral and mental health disorders.
Encouraging such individuals to seek professional assistance is of the utmost importance. Doing so saves lives and allows men and women to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.
According to the National Center for PTSD, research shows chemical dependency and PTSD are strongly related in people who served in the military as well as civilians. The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences:
- Physical or Sexual Assault
- Terrorist Attack
- Serious Accident
- Natural Disaster
Symptoms of PTSD can include any of the following: feeling keyed up, flashbacks of an event, avoiding reminders of the event, and anhedonia (no longer taking pleasure in the activities you once enjoyed). Those who suffer from one or more of the symptoms listed above should seek professional guidance; this is especially vital if one is self-medicating their symptoms.
The VA notes that almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD. Moreover, more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. Trying to manage post-traumatic stress disorder with drugs and alcohol is a vicious cycle. Self-medicating leads to addiction often, and the practice has been shown to worsen one’s PTSD symptoms.
Men and women – veterans, active duty, or civilians – who are experiencing PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorder can significantly benefit from seeking treatment. However, choosing the right facility that can cater to one’s unique needs is paramount.
HVRC’s Heroes Program Accepts TRICARE
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are proud to announce that we meet the strict criteria for being in-network with TRICARE. It allows us to offer service members, veterans, and their family members affordable co-occurring disorder treatment.
Our dedicated team of professionals relies on evidence-based treatment modalities to help our clients heal and achieve lasting recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our specialty tract for first-responders, veterans, active servicemen and women, and their families.