Exposure to traumatic experiences can leave lasting marks on a person’s psyche. While mental scars may seem indelible to those affected, evidence-based treatments for trauma exist and recovery is possible. When people are unable to access professional help, they are at significant risk of self-medicating and self-harm. As a result, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often accompanied by alcohol and substance use disorder.
Channeling more people who are living with PTSD to therapeutic and recovery services is a must. Unfortunately, stigma walls off many men and women from accessing recovery resources.
Even though victims are not at fault for the pain they’ve suffered, they can convince themselves otherwise. Vicious cycles of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors come to life, resulting in the development of addiction and another mood-related psychopathology.
Fortunately, there is help available for individuals living with post-traumatic stress and co-occurring substance use disorders. During June, the National Center for PTSD is asking the general public to help raise awareness and break the stigma of this treatable mental health condition. This is PTSD Awareness Month!
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we understand that mood or mental disorders coincide with addiction regularly. Many of our clients, now in recovery, began their journey towards addiction in direct response to trauma and subsequent PTSD. Stigma prevented many of these men and women from seeking help sooner. We have the power to change this common occurrence and empower people to request assistance.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders
Experts have long understood that there is a correlation between adverse experiences and substance use disorder. The connection is especially true when the trauma occurs during childhood before a person has developed effective, healthy coping mechanisms. As a person ages, and is introduced to drugs and alcohol, they discover that the symptoms of PTSD can be alleviated to a degree.
Mind-altering substances have the power to change people’s perception and numb some of the pain that they bear. Occasional use morphs into regular, heavy use; at which point, the substances, that one thinks are helping, become pernicious. In time, self-medicating PTSD symptoms will begin to have the opposite effect, serving only to exacerbate the feelings which men and women are trying to escape.
When co-morbidity or “dual-diagnosis” becomes one’s reality, it is paramount that they receive treatment for both conditions simultaneously. Treating one, while ignoring the other, significantly impedes a person’s ability to recover. In a sense, co-occurring disorders require co-occurring recoveries.
PTSD Awareness Month
When discussing PTSD, people are inclined to attach the condition to combat veterans. However, survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events are all eligible for developing the condition too. Anyone dealing with symptoms can benefit from seeking professional assistance. The markers of PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing the trauma (flashbacks)
- Avoidance (i.e., staying away from anything that reminds one of the experiences)
- Arousal and reactivity (feeling tense or being prone to outbursts)
- Cognition and mood symptoms (negative self-talk, guilt, and blame)
“Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available.” – National Center for PTSD
There are several ways you can assist the efforts to break the stigma and encourage people to seek treatment. Please click here to learn more.
Southern California Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
We invite you to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder. We specialize in treating men and women who have a dual diagnosis. Please contact us today to learn more.