How PTSD and Addiction Are Linked

ptsd and addiction

PTSD, also known as post traumatic stress disorder, is often linked with addiction and substance abuse disorders. If you aren’t familiar with PTSD or addiction, or how the two can be intertwined, Anchored Tides Recovery is here to share with you more information regarding the two disorders. 

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Evelyn lost her parents at the age of 8 to a terrible accident. Since then, she has suffered several panic attacks and exhausting emotional outbursts.

Some nights, she hardly sleeps. And some days, anxiety and depression disconnect her from friends and family.

To cope with loneliness and feelings of depression and anxiety, she started experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and eventually became addicted to these substances. 

This is just one of the many examples of a person experiencing PTSD and addiction. Most people who, at any point in their lives, suffered trauma can often overcome the experience on their own. However, when PTSD ensues, the symptoms hardly go away.

 

What is PTSD and Addiction?

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health and anxiety disorder. It happens when a person witnesses or experiences a life-threatening or traumatic event. Examples of such events are:

  • The death of loved ones
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Fatal accidents and injuries
  • Natural disasters
  • War
  • Terrorist attacks

Sadly, you don’t need to have to witness any of the events above before suffering PTSD. You might develop PTSD when a loved one experiences life-endangering occurrences.

In another case, having a history of mental illness can also lead to PTSD. And if you’re a woman, the chances of having PTSD are unfortunately higher. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men.

How to Tell If You Have PTSD

When a person suffers PTSD, they may display specific symptoms. The common symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia and nightmares
  • Persistent anger
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive agitation and fear

Some people with PTSD may turn to alcohol and drugs to manage and cope with the symptoms, and ultimately end up becoming addicted to said substances. If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD and addiction, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

At the earliest stages of PTSD with early intervention, it’s very possible to recover from PTSD without medications. However, when the symptoms of PTSD become disruptive and unmanageable, getting prescription drugs or treatments is a good option. Presently, the widely-approved medications for PTSD are antidepressants. Antidepressants are likely to suppress PTSD symptoms such as anger issues, fear, and agitation.

Another medication is Prazosin. It helps to suppress PTSD symptoms such as sleeplessness and nightmares.

How PTSD and Addiction Are Linked

The two disorders share a mutual link/nature. PTSD alters brain chemistry just as much as substance abuse.

For that reason, a singular trauma can simultaneously trigger PTSD and substance. And that is why substance abuse can lead to PTSD. Sudden withdrawal from drugs or alcohol will develop post-traumatic stress disorder in an addict.

Another connection between PTSD and substance abuse is PTSD medications. Indeed prescription drugs can help manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, one of the dangers of prescription drugs is that people living with PTSD often abuse them. For example, antidepressants such as Ativan and Xanax (Benzodiazepines) tend to create a high feeling. If someone suffering from PTSD takes too much of those, they are at risk for developing an addiction. 

Anchored Tides Recovery Can Help

Hope is not lost. Anchored Tides Recovery’s women’s drug rehab will help you live an addiction-free life. We are a comprehensive dual-diagnosis program created specifically for women who need help. 

We provide different levels of addiction treatment services including an Intensive Outpatient Program, Women’s Partial Hospitalization Program, Outpatient Program, and an aftercare program. If you or your loved one is struggling with PTSD, contact us NOW and begin your journey to full recovery.

 

The Silence Of A Client’s Death

By, Heather Black-Coyne

I have worked in addiction treatment for 10 years now. My journey working in the treatment industry began early in sobriety and like many, I wanted to help others find recovery just as I had.  A topic much talked about but not really talked about is the death of our clients. The news coverage speaks to the number of opioid overdoses and the stark increase of deaths over the years. The opioid epidemic is well underway, and tens of thousands die each year because of opioid use. Today’s reality is that someone is now more likely to die of an opioid overdose than a motor vehicle accident. The unfortunate news is methamphetamine use and alcohol use also take thousands of lives, but their toll is overshadowed by the opioid crisis; that’s a topic for another day.

Despite the staggering statistics, in all of my classes, clinical team meetings, and new employee orientations, the fact that one of my clients might die was never discussed. Sure, we covered self-care, hear of and grieve the third-party news that a former client has passed. Sure, I have learned that certain standards, regulations, risk management and compliance measures need to be in place to safeguard organizational liability in case of sentinel events. I have participated in the silence, and I am sad to say that over time, my cognitive sensitivity to death by overdose has decreased.

Today, I’m very aware of the cumulative effect these losses have had on my soul. I am sad. I am confused. I am preoccupied with images of my late client. My thoughts vacillate between my recent client’s death and the loss of past clients. I see past clients sitting in my office talking about their dreams. I hear their longing to be a part of. I imagine them at my doorway, smiling, telling me about their latest achievements. I replay moments where I had this keen sense of them flirting with the afterlife and their weighted connection with death. My process then flips to my recent loss. I feel guilt when I hear others express they thought ‘this one would make it.’ The guilt is rooted in retrospect. I knew a barrier existed between her and true joy. I knew she was just existing, despite the smile she flashed the world. The guilt is rooted in knowing, at times, I operated from a place of defense, “I am here for you AND I am protecting myself.” A sense of protecting myself from the overwhelming feeling of grief, even before you passed away. Though at the time, I truly didn’t know that would be the outcome.

I am grounded and rooted in emotional health. I don’t beat myself up, I don’t ruminate on what I did or did not do. I do not assign myself unnecessary blame. I have and my guess is, others have too. My guess is, that especially for newer counselors, there is some unshakable sense of responsibility. I want to validate that normal human process for anyone who has experienced the death of clients. I want to validate the enormous pull to help save someone’s live and the disappointment of that endeavor not being realized. I want to validate the disparity between seeing someone thrive and then learning of their passing. I want to talk about the fact that if you work in addiction treatment, for any length of time, losing a client is not only a possibility but a probability. When this happens, the loss is staggering. The world silences while your heart sinks. Our thoughts attempt to reconcile the feelings that can’t be explained.

We do this work because we are called to help others, and the need is clear. We do this work, because we believe in the gift of life. We keep doing this work despite the heartache for these reasons. The number of individuals I have seen achieve successful recovery far outweighs the number of individuals I have seen die from this disease. Every story holds a special place in my heart. Every story teaches me something I didn’t know I needed to know. If you are like me, if this subject wasn’t talked about with you, know you are not alone. I am with you, we are with you, let’s talk about it.

 

Anchored Tides Supports Rock to Recovery Benefit

Rock to Recovery Event in LA August 24th at 7pm

Rock to Recovery 4 – the fourth annual benefit concert with music featuring John Feldman and Sacred Sons, with the latter consisting of musicians whose credits include Korn, Sevendust, She Wants Revenge and Madonna. System of the Down’s Shavo Odadjian will also be sitting in with Sacred Sons for the night.

Feldmann, Goldfinger’s frontman and producer for such acts as Blink-182 and Andy Black, will be saluted with the Rock to Recovery Service Award, while the night’s other major honor, the Rock to Recovery ICON Award, will go to actress-singer Katey Sagal. Both honors salute those who have used their power of influence to help put a spotlight on addiction and recovery while giving hope to others.

The fundraiser helps grow the reach of Rock to Recovery’s innovational music therapy program.  All proceeds go towards funding the non-profit’s services which help those suffering from addiction, mental health, wounded warriors, and at-risk youth, to find hope, support, and recovery.

Click here to purchase tickets

Trump goes full Nixon on law-and-order, vows “ruthless” war on drugs and crime

In a sharp break with the Obama administration, which distanced itself from harsh anti-drug rhetoric and emphasized treatment for drug users over punishment, President Trump this week reverted to tough drug war oratory and backed it up with a series of executive orders he said are “designed to restore safety in America.”

“We’re going to stop the drugs from pouring in,” Trump told law enforcement professionals of the Major Cities Chiefs Association on Wednesday. “We’re going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. We’re going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice. And we’re going to take that fight to the drug cartels and work to liberate our communities from their terrible grip of violence.”

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