PTSD Awareness Month

PTSD awareness month June
Category: mental illness

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing something frightening or life-threatening. As PTSD Awareness Month comes to a close, it’s crucial to be empathetic about this disorder, its symptoms and the profound impact it can have. PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of age, background or occupation, and understanding its nuances is the first step to finding effective treatment.

Recognizing the Warning Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD manifests in various ways, with symptoms that significantly disrupt daily life. While everyone’s experience is unique, here are some typical characteristics.

  • Intrusive memories: Recurrent, unwanted memories, including flashbacks and nightmares, can force you to relive the event.
  • Avoidance: You may go to great lengths to avoid thinking or talking about what you went through, including avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the trauma.
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood: These could include persistent pessimistic thoughts about yourself or the world, feelings of hopelessness, memory problems, difficulty maintaining close relationships and emotional numbness.
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions: PTSD can make you startle easily, feel unsafe, have difficulty sleeping, be irrationally irritable or angry and do self-destructive things such as substance abuse or reckless driving.

The Connection Between PTSD and Substance Abuse

There is a significant correlation between PTSD and substance abuse. Many people living with PTSD use drugs or alcohol to escape unpleasant memories or manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. Unfortunately, this can lead to a cycle of dependency that exacerbates the condition rather than alleviating it.

The stress and emotional turmoil associated with PTSD can make you more vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder. Drinking and drug use can also amplify PTSD symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle that makes the co-occurring mental illness and addiction more challenging to treat.

When to Seek Treatment

Untreated PTSD will continue worsening with time, causing cascading issues in various facets of your life. Seek professional help if your symptoms persist for more than a month and interfere with your everyday responsibilities, work and relationships. If addiction is a compounding factor, you need a comprehensive plan that addresses both conditions concurrently.

Evidence-based approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing have proven effective in treating PTSD. Additionally, PTSD support groups can give you a chance to meet people who have had similar experiences, giving you a healthy outlet for discussing your emotions and challenges.

PTSD can significantly impact your quality of life, but do not lose hope. Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat is here to provide compassionate, comprehensive dual-diagnosis care tailored to your needs. Reach out to us today to start the journey toward healing and recovery.