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Alcohol Abuse and PTSD- Are they Connected?

Individuals who deal with excessive stress or severe anxiety are often subject to a more serious health condition called PTSD which can cause lifelong problems. PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of severe trauma or anxiety that lingers causing persistent psychological interruption in life including heightened anxiety and inability to focus. Often times, people who suffer from PTSD will also abuse alcohol, but does this mean that PTSD and alcohol abuse are directly related to one another?

If you suspect that someone you love is abusing alcohol or that a loved one suffers from PTSD, call our helpline at 800-481-6965 for treatment. Our caring advisors will assist you in determining whether inpatient treatment is necessary and what you should do to begin your journey to recovery and healing.

Understanding PTSD

One of the most severe of all anxiety disorders, PTSD develops after an individual is exposed to severe trauma that results in psychological disturbance. Symptoms include persistent anxiety that interrupts regular life and which can lead to loss of overall quality of life and a desire to simply “escape” the trauma.

Often times an individual suffering from PTSD will show any one or combination of the following symptoms:

  • Flashbacks of the original event or situation that caused the deep rooted anxiety.
  • Repeat thoughts of the traumatic event.
  • Nightmares of the traumatic event.
  • Frightening thoughts that reinvent the tragic event.
  • Anxiety and stress.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Inability to sleep well at night due to trauma.
  • Emotional disconnection.
  • Guilt or inability to accept what happened.
  • Avoidances of anything that could trigger thoughts of the trauma.
  • Depression or sadness.
  • Anger.

Causes of PTSD

Alcohol Abuse and PTSD

Flashbacks are common among PTSD sufferers.

So what is it that can make an otherwise healthy individual suffer from debilitating anxiety otherwise known as PTSD? It takes serious trauma to cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals who suffer from this condition generally suffer from trauma such as:

  • Sexual abuse such as rape.
  • Physical abuse.
  • Living through a serious disaster such as a hurricane or tornado.
  • Being involved in a serious conflict such as a shooting, home invasion or similar problem.
  • Suffering from life-threatening medical diagnosis.
  • Being abused physically or emotionally as a child.
  • Being abused physically or emotionally as an adult.
  • Going to war or being in combat.
  • Sudden loss of employment.
  • Sudden loss of a loved one.
  • Sudden break up from a long-term relationship.
  • Seeing someone get injured severely or be killed.

How PTSD and Alcohol Go Together

Not everyone who sees or suffers a traumatic experience will suffer from PTSD. Some people are able to cope with things like this without any major impact on the psyche while others suffer dramatic and debilitating anxiety as a result of trauma. But how does PTSD and alcohol go hand in hand?

Well, not everyone who suffers from PTSD will drink alcohol as a means of coping with their anxiety, but many will. In fact, it is believed that up to 75% of people who suffer from PTSD will use alcohol as a means of self-medicating. This number is rather alarming as alcohol only exacerbates the symptoms of anxiety and other serious problems associated with PTSD.

People who drink alcohol in an effort to deal with their PTSD are more likely to suffer from other serious side effects of the alcohol consumption including psychosis and addiction. Alcohol addiction will later require professional treatment if the individual decides he or she would like to (or needs to) quit.

Are Alcohol and Violence Linked?

Treatment for PTSD and Alcohol Addiction

The treatment process for one condition (PTSD or Alcohol Addiction) is difficult enough. Pair two conditions together and you get a dual-diagnosis which is very challenging to treat and equally challenging to heal from.

If you suspect that you or someone you care about suffers from PTSD and is abusing alcohol, call our helpline toll-free at 800-481-6965 to speak with a treatment advisor. Our helpline can assist you in finding a treatment center that can provide care for your co-occurring conditions offer help for BOTH PTSD and for alcohol addiction.

Treatment options for those who suffer from PTSD and alcoholism include:

  • Anti-anxiety medications to reduce anxiety.
  • Anti-psychotic medications to reduce the impact of psychotic episodes.
  • Blood pressure medications to reduce high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
  • Anti-depressant medication to help reduce depression.
  • Therapy to restore habits and well-being.
  • Support groups to reduce stress and provide adequate foundation for healing.

A combination of therapy, support and medical intervention will likely be required for total recovery from addiction to alcohol. PTSD may continue to cause challenges in your recovery, but finding a treatment facility that can provide adequate care for both of these conditions can help.

If you’re ready to get sober, call our helpline toll-free anytime to talk with a recovery specialist. Our unique program will provide exactly the level of care and trauma resolution support that you need to overcome addiction and to stabilize following time spent battling PTSD and anxiety. Call 800-481-6965 now for assistance.

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