Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction can be debilitating for anyone struggling with them. It is essential to obtain the proper support – both from within yourself and from your community – to effectively manage symptoms of PTSD as well as mitigate cravings that come along with addiction.
It takes tremendous courage and perseverance, but it is possible to heal when faced with this dual diagnosis Los Angeles.
This blog post explores solutions for balancing mental health while recovering from substance abuse disorders, so you can live an empowered life free of fear and self-destruction.
PTSD and Addiction: A Complex Relationship
PTSD and addiction can often be related in that one may lead to the other. People suffering from PTSD are more likely to develop a substance problem as they use substances to cope with their trauma-related symptoms.
In turn, alcohol and drug abuse can worsen the effects of PTSD by intensifying the fear associated with traumatic events. This can lead to further avoidance of activities that may evoke feelings of distress and create additional barriers to recovery.
It is essential to understand the complex relationship between PTSD and addiction to gain insight into how they interact with each other so that you can learn better-coping strategies for managing them both.
Tips for Managing PTSD and Addiction
Seek Professional Help
It is essential to seek professional help when dealing with mental illness and addiction, as you may need extra support during recovery.
A mental health provider can provide coping strategies to manage your PTSD symptoms. At the same time, a medical practitioner or therapist can offer guidance on treating the substance use disorder.
There are likely things that trigger your PTSD symptoms, which can lead to craving substances to numb the pain.
It is essential to be aware of these triggers so that you can avoid them or have a proposal in place for how to deal with them if they arise.
Self-care is an essential part of managing PTSD and addiction, as it can help to relieve stress and provide you with the emotional support you need during recovery.
Examples of self-care include:
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Exercising regularly.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation.
- Connecting with supportive friends or family members.
Talk to a Peer
It can be immensely beneficial to talk to someone who has experienced similar issues as you, such as a peer or fellow addict in recovery.
They may have valuable insights into how they’ve successfully managed their trauma and addiction.
Goal-setting is an integral part of any recovery journey, as it helps to provide direction and a sense of purpose.
Whether it’s writing down your life goals or setting short-term objectives for yourself, having something to strive for can help keep you motivated and on track with your recovery.
Are You Battling A Mental Health Crises?
Formal intervention may be the best solution if you or a loved one is fighting a mental health crisis.
You don’t have to face this harrowing experience alone. Here are some ways you can start seeking professional help:
- Speak with a trusted friend about the symptoms and progression of your/their issues.
- Attend therapy.
- Join a support group or seek other formal procedures to aid in overcoming addiction and any related behaviors that come with it.
For those caring for someone struggling with an addiction or mental health disorders, consider connecting with online resources that are tailored to support a loved one’s addiction.
Remember to take care of yourself while providing love and support; always seek assistance if needed.
Statistics for Veterans Addiction 2021
According to the National Center for PTSD, 20-30% of veterans who have served in combat zones suffer from PTSD.
In terms of addiction among veterans, a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that in 2017, 7.5% of U.S. veterans reported alcohol or drug misuse.
Active duty service members’ rates of illicit drug use have decreased in recent years and were at lower levels in 2015. Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) compared to the 2011 survey.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported an uprise in veteran substance abuse rates over the past two decades despite efforts to curb troublesome drug use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at least one in every ten veterans has been identified with substance abuse disorder.
These statistics show the stark reality of how PTSD and addiction can be intertwined and why it is essential to seek help to manage both conditions.
Veterans Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug abuse is a growing issue in veterans, as prescription medications are often used to treat pain and PTSD symptoms.
However, some of these medications can be highly addictive when abused, leading to dangerous side effects such as overdose or death.
It is essential to speak with your physician about the risks associated with any medication you may be taking before you begin taking it. And to be aware of any potential signs of addiction.
If you suspect that you or someone close to you may have a problem with prescription drug abuse, help is available. Reach out to a healthcare provider for assistance finding the right treatment plan for your needs.
Veterans and Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the most common type of drug abuse, as it can be seen as an escape from the emotional pain caused by PTSD.
However, alcohol use disorder can lead to serious health issues such as liver damage, heart disease, and increased risk of certain cancers.
Veterans and Nicotine Addiction
Nicotine addiction is an issue for many veterans, as there are high smoking rates among service members and veterans.
Veterans often turn to nicotine to cope with military service’s physical and emotional stresses.
Veterans and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is known as a mental health condition that can grow after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.
Veterans are at an increased risk of PTSD due to their frequent exposure to dangerous environments and stressful situations.
Treatment for PTSD may include a combination of talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Veterans need to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD, as this can help to better manage their mental health.
PTSD and Substance Abuse Treatment Options
Veterans suffering from PTSD and substance abuse should consider seeking professional help. Treatment options are available, including outpatient, residential, or intensive outpatient programs.
Treatment plans are tailored to each individual’s needs and should be discussed with a healthcare provider before beginning any program.
Veterans Mental Health Support Services & Resources
Veterans, who are struggling with PTSD, mental health issues, or addiction, should know that they are not alone and there is help available. Many organizations and resources exist to support veterans in need of assistance.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides various resources and assistance programs to help veterans manage their mental health.
Various nonprofits, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, provide support services to veterans in need. These organizations can connect veterans with counselors and doctors, provide education about PTSD and addiction, and offer financial assistance for treatment.
In addition, many online support groups and forums are available to veterans who want to connect with other veterans. These forums can provide a safe space for veterans to talk about their experiences, ask questions, and share resources.
Finally, it is essential to remember that recovery from PTSD or addiction is possible, and life can still be enjoyed despite these challenges. Veterans can reach out to friends and family, seek support from local resources, or find comfort in the camaraderie of other veterans who have gone through similar struggles. With help and support, veterans can find a path to recovery and lead fulfilling lives.
No matter what your situation may be, there is always hope for recovery. If you or a loved one are fighting mental health issues, addiction, or PTSD, seek help right away. There are many resources available that can provide assistance and support. With the proper care and treatment, you can regain control of your life and retrieve your place in the world.