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Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction in North Carolina

Addiction impacts the lives of millions of people, their families, and communities in the United States. Sometimes, it’s unclear exactly what caused someone to develop dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol. But in some cases, understanding underlying mental health issues can offer insight into the roots of addiction, leading to more compassionate, effective treatment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is linked to addiction. In fact, people diagnosed with PTSD are up to three times as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than the general population.[1] While treatment for PTSD and addiction can be more complex than other types of addiction treatment, it can help people overcome both conditions and manage their symptoms for life.

If you or someone in your life needs PTSD and addiction treatment in North Carolina, contact the team at Next Step Recovery to learn about your treatment options.

 

PTSD

 

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Stress is just part of everyday life for the vast majority of people. Stress occurs when frustrating, anxiety-producing, or other taxing situations arise. In many cases, people can cope with these stressors and move forward with little impact on their overall health or ability to perform daily tasks.

But some events are so intensely stressful that they have a lasting impact on people. An event that causes extreme distress or causes a person to feel as though their life or safety is in danger may be considered to be a traumatic event. Some examples of traumatic events include:

  • Being the victim of a sexual or physical assault
  • Neglect
  • Witnessing a death
  • A severe health problem
  • A natural disaster, such as a flood, hurricane, or earthquake
  • Military service and combat
  • A car accident

This list is not complete. Any event that makes people fear for their life or feel intensely afraid may be traumatic.

Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder after living through a traumatic event. They may experience distressing or uncomfortable symptoms that interfere with their ability to function.

Symptoms of PTSD

The type, severity, and duration of PTSD can vary. People may also have different symptoms at different points in their life. Some common symptoms of PTSD include:[2]

  • Unwanted, distressing memories of the event
  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Distress and physical reaction to situations, people, or places related to the traumatic event
  • Avoiding thinking about the event
  • Staying away from people, places, or activities related to the event
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of hopelessness, numbness, or detachment
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Irritability, anger, or aggression
  • Guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Depression and anxiety

Some people struggle to cope with the symptoms of PTSD and require professional treatment and support. Without getting the help they need, people with PTSD may experience worsening symptoms, or they may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

The Connection Between PTSD and Addiction

Mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, may increase the likelihood that someone will develop a substance use disorder (SUD) or addiction. But why is this the case?

Mental health and addiction experts believe that the connection between PTSD and addiction exists because people may turn to drugs and alcohol to dull the emotional pain caused by their trauma.[3]

When stress overwhelms a person’s ability to cope and function, they may turn to any means necessary to keep going–including using substances like alcohol, marijuana, prescription painkillers, or cocaine to get relief from their PTSD symptoms.

Using drugs and alcohol can give people momentary relief from their PTSD symptoms, but it comes at a high cost. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening harm to a person’s mental and physical health.

If someone develops dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol, they must receive treatment for PTSD and addiction simultaneously to recover from both conditions.

What Happens During Treatment for PTSD and Addiction?

PTSD and addiction treatment occurs in stages, beginning with a thorough intake assessment. It’s crucial for your treatment team to understand your unique needs and goals. The assessment will explore your mental and physical health history, your history or prior treatment programs, your substance use, and other relevant issues.

After your assessment, you may attend a detox program that will help you manage the emotional and physical discomforts of withdrawal.

Next, you will participate in a comprehensive PTSD and addiction treatment program. During treatment in North Carolina, you will identify and treat the roots of your trauma and addiction and develop new skills to manage symptoms of these conditions in healthy ways.

Your treatment plan will likely include evidence-based and holistic therapies, including:

  • Individual counseling that focuses on identifying and healing trauma
  • Group support
  • Family therapy
  • Education
  • Medications
  • Mental health treatment
  • Holistic therapies like exercise, nutrition counseling, mindfulness, and more

After completing treatment, you will develop and follow an aftercare plan that keeps you engaged and active in recovery for life. This may include continuing therapy, finding a community support group, attending 12-step meetings, and other activities that support lifelong recovery.

Find Treatment for PTSD and Addiction in North Carolina Now

You do not have to manage the symptoms of PTSD or addiction alone. Effective, compassionate PTSD and addiction treatment in North Carolina is just a phone call away. Don’t wait for more time to pass. Call the Next Step Recovery team today to explore your treatment options and find the support you deserve.

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Treatment of Co-Occurring PTSD and Substance Use Disorder in VA, Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/cooccurring/tx_sud_va.asp
  2. National Library of Medicine: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559129/
  3. National Library of Medicine: Concurrent Treatment of Substance Use and PTSD, Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928573/

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