Does PTSD Lead to Addiction

Formerly called shell shock, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was once believed to only affect war veterans. Today, we know much more about this complex mental health condition, including its ability to cause substance abuse.

Double trouble
People suffering from PTSD have lived through a traumatic event or illness—and are still haunted by it. Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, sleeplessness, aggressive behavior and angry outbursts. To cope, many individuals self-medicate. However, using drugs and alcohol leads to another problem: addiction. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who suffer from PTSD are two to four times more likely to also battle addiction. Even worse, when drugs or alcohol are used to manage PTSD symptoms, the symptoms of the disorder only become more severe.

There is hope
With support and treatment, people with PTSD and addiction can recover and lead normal lives. The trick is finding the right program. Many believe that by treating the underlying cause, the drug and alcohol abuse will stop. Unfortunately, the addiction usually remains because the body becomes dependent on the substance. That’s why both must be tackled at the same time.

Dual diagnosis treatment
Studies show patients who undergo addiction treatment concurrently with behavioral health treatment for PTSD have the most success. This is referred to as dual diagnosis treatment. At Bradford Health, we offer patients this two-pronged approach.

Preventing relapse
As with any treatment, an essential part is learning how to keep relapses at bay. Bradford’s dual diagnosis program helps individuals recognize the triggers for both their addiction and PTSD, and create the best strategies to help manage them.

Get help
Bradford Health has a proven track record helping individuals with our dual diagnosis treatment. If you or someone you know has a problem, call us today: 888.577.0012.