According to research by TIME Magazine, 66 percent of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffer from addiction. To put this in perspective, people with PTSD suffer addiction two to four times more frequently than those without. It’s no secret why there is such a strong correlation between PTSD and addiction. Many people who suffer from PTSD struggle with mental health issues daily. May times these people will turn to alcohol or drugs to help numb the pain that is associated with their PTSD. When someone is suffering from a mental health disorder as well as substance use disorder it is referred to as co-occurring conditions or dual diagnosis. PTSD recovery programs are essential for those that have not just lost the battle with their PTSD, but also lost the battle with drugs and alcohol. Let’s take a look at the need for PTSD rehab centers in North Carolina.

What is PTSD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault. While PTSD is mostly associated with veterans coming back from war, everyday occurrences can cause PTSD.

People with PTSD in North Carolina have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experiences that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may even relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares. Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • A feeling of detachment or estrangement
  • Avoiding situations that remind them of the event
  • Strong negative reactions to ordinary occurrences
  • Suicidal thoughts

Most people begin to experience symptoms of PTSD within a few days of the traumatic event. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.

PTSD is not just something that adults suffer from exclusively. Children and teens can also suffer from PTSD and can often have extreme reactions to the trauma. PTSD symptoms in young children (children under 6) can include:

  • Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
  • Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
  • Acting out the scary event during playtime
  • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult

Children in their teens are more likely to experience symptoms that are more similar to those that adults suffer from.

Role of PTSD in AddictionPTSD treatment program

Close to 60 percent of people that suffer from PTSD also suffer from an addiction. For the majority of those people, the addiction is directly related to the PTSD. In fact, according to the Clinical Psychology journal, people who suffer from PTSD are between two and four times more likely to also battle addiction than their peers who do not also struggle with PTSD. That’s because those that suffer from PTSD are more likely to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress.

PTSD changes brain chemistry, producing fewer endorphins than it did before PTSD. As a result, people suffering from PTSD in North Carolina are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to increase those endorphin levels in the brain so they feel happier again. Over time, they grow dependent on the drug and alcohol the same way people suffering from addiction do.

While drugs and alcohol may provide a short-term reprieve from PTSD symptoms, it can lead to much bigger problems in the long-run. As the drugs and alcohol wear off, the PTSD symptoms become worse, making it vital for the person suffering to continuously turn to drugs or alcohol for help. The same goes for withdrawal symptoms. Drug withdrawal symptoms can make PTSD symptoms significantly worse, thus making it even harder to stop drug use. It’s for this reason that it is crucial that both PTSD and addiction are treated simultaneously and in an integrated fashion.

What are the Benefits of Addiction Treatment with a PTSD Treatment Program

When you suffer both addiction and PTSD, you need a specially designed PTSD recovery program for addiction in North Carolina. Therefore, as mentioned above, both conditions must gain treatment at the same time. This treatment starts in detox and continues through rehab and into recovery. Without a trauma informed approach in a PTSD treatment program, the PTSD fuels the addiction to relapse.

PTSD makes many addiction withdrawal symptoms worse. In fact, these symptoms sometimes last for months after substance abuse ends. For this reason, you need to go to a PTSD rehab center specializing in trauma recovery. Dual diagnosis treatment helps both conditions at once, your stress disorder, and your substance abuse.

In rehab, a variety of tools and methods treat your trauma and addiction. These methods include behavioral therapies, medications, and education. For example, your behavioral therapies take place in individual, group, and family counseling settings.

In individual therapy, you gain important behavioral therapies for PTSD treatment and recovery. These behavioral therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Additionally, CBT helps you learn how to manage your stress, change your thinking, and improve your self-esteem. It also teaches you about your own personal triggers and how to overcome them and prevent relapse.

Medications help many people with PTSD live healthier lives. In addition, these medications treat anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. When you enter rehab, your therapists perform an assessment. This assessment and other tests help them determine whether you need medication for your condition.

The most important role of rehab for addiction and PTSD is to treat both conditions at the same time. Treating only one condition leaves the other unchecked, causing you to relapse in both substance abuse and mental illness.

Are You Looking for Trauma and Addiction Treatment in North Carolina

Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina understands your struggle with PTSD and addiction. At CVRC, you gain the addiction therapy services and treatments you need for a strong recovery from both of your conditions.

Specifically, programs at Crest View Recovery Center include:

If you or someone you love suffers the effects of PTSD and addiction, seek help at Crest View Recovery Center. Call us now at 866.327.2505 for more information about our substance abuse programs.

Article Reviewed by Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCS

Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCSPatrice has over 30 years experience working in social work and mental health/substance abuse counseling. She received her Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in a variety of settings, including community-based outpatient, hospital and classroom settings. Patrice specializes in substance abuse treatment, trauma and women’s issues.