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How Can Our PTSD and Addictions Impact Each Other?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can have numerous mental, emotional and physical effects that can exacerbate our struggles with addiction. When suffering from PTSD, we often will relive our traumatic experiences, replaying them in our minds over and over again, having nightmares, visions or flashbacks, or feeling a constant sense of fear even though the original threat is no longer a factor in our lives. For example, if we’ve been abused as a child, we might constantly feel afraid of being physically or psychologically mistreated, even if our abuser is no longer present in our lives and no one is currently posing any threat to us. We might feel paranoid, panicked, overly worried, stressed out, anxious, depressed or otherwise consumed by our trauma. How can the symptoms of PTSD impact our struggles with addiction and vice versa?

Emotional Escapism

As we come to discover, our addictions are often our means of trying to escape and avoid our mental and emotional pain. When we’re living with PTSD, we can fall into the trap of using addictive substances and behaviors to minimize the pain of our traumatic memories and all the pain we’ve come to associate with them. For a brief time while we’re high, the pain of our trauma can be lessened, and we feel some relief from it, which can easily give way to dependence issues because we find our pain to be unbearable.

Worsened Dependence and Mental Health Conditions

Over time, just like with any other mental health issue, our PTSD can be worsened exponentially by our addictions. While we’re busy getting high and prioritizing our addiction over everything else in our lives, our dependence on our drug of choice is growing stronger. We’re becoming more and more attached to it, physically, biochemically and emotionally. We revolve our lifestyles and routines around our addictions. We’re not taking steps to heal from our trauma, nor are we usually even confronting it, causing it to deepen its hold over us. More layers of pain are accumulating for us to sort through and unpack. The list grows longer by the day of all the issues in our lives we have yet to figure out. Our mental health symptoms worsen, and our health deteriorates.

Co-Occurring Disorders

PTSD is one of the many mental health issues that are often treated alongside addiction as co-occurring disorders, as part of dual diagnosis treatment to help ourselves heal holistically from our many different challenges. Learning how they’re related, how they can impact one another, and how we can heal from them together is an important part of our recovery.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in treating trauma related mental health

conditions, addictions, and other co-occurring disorders.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488