So often, people with PTSD suffer in silence for years with no relief from the horror their brains and emotional systems impose upon them daily. Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol may seem like the only solution, but that’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. Adding the nightmare of addiction on to PTSD creates a supercharged hellscape from which it can be difficult to escape. But, there is a way out. With the right support, it is possible to find relief from PTSD – and the substance abuse that so often accompanies it. Here’s how to begin your road to recovery.
Step One To Cure PTSD: Understand That You Are Not Alone
On average, about 15 million Americans struggle with PTSD every year. That’s 6% of the overall population. However, that number can be much higher within certain groups, like veterans.
One study after the Vietnam War found that 25% of those who’d served required psychological care for the effects of combat. More recently, a 2013 study of Iraq and Afghanistan vets found that 13.5% of veterans – both deployed and nondeployed – screened positive for PTSD.
PTSD is incredibly isolating, but remember that you are not alone in your suffering.
Step Two To Cure PTSD: Ask For Help
Today, we know more than ever about how PTSD works and how to treat it. The condition was not even recognized as a diagnosis until 1970, and was added to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) in 1980. So many thousands of veterans and others lived with PTSD for so long, but today you don’t have to.
Every year there are new advancements in treating PTSD: both through medicine and through therapies. No one can ever take away what happened to you, but by now, we know that treatment can be effective in helping people manage the symptoms of PTSD.
Step Three To Cure PTSD: Heal From The Inside Out
However, as the roots of PTSD are buried deep in the psyche, the best way to pull them out is to attack from all angles. On top of medicine, a variety of other professional medical therapies can help individuals with PTSD find peace.
For example, EMDR (eye movement desensitization response) is a technique by which lights and other visual stimuli are used to “desensitize” the mind to painful memories. Even just talk therapy can be helpful for people who’ve buried their pain for so long.
If poking at your wounds sounds like too much to bear, know this: Any reputable treatment facility will proceed with treatment at a pace that feels safe and comfortable to you.
Since substance abuse is often closely tied to PTSD, resolving PTSD symptoms in a residential addiction treatment center that specializes in “dual diagnosis” care can help lessen the desire to drink or use. Learning about tools for addiction recovery and relapse prevention on top of your PTSD treatment, for example, can help set you up for a successful life in recovery post-treatment.
Step Four To Cure PTSD: Build New Relationships
Both PTSD and substance abuse are diseases of isolation. They kill off your connection to everyone you love and trap you in a dark place of hopelessness. Part of your recovery from PTSD will include building new relationships. Receiving professional treatment at a facility that specializes in this type of care means that you are likely to have the opportunity to receive treatment alongside other people just like yourself. At Country Road, for example, we have a specialized veterans addiction treatment track, and our own Admissions Director is a veteran. Building new relationships in recovery will help you find joy in life again as you learn to love living in your own skin.
Step Five To Cure PTSD: Stay On The Road To Recovery
Recovery is only useful as long as you can keep it. That’s why reputable treatment facilities like Country Road Recovery Center will work with you on strategies to continue your healing post-treatment. That could include ongoing therapy, support groups, or even something more formal like intensive outpatient treatment (IOP). Your needs are unique, so your after-care plan should be customized to you, just like your treatment.
The bottom line is, if you are suffering with PTSD you don’t have to live that way any more. Call Country Road to start a new road to a better life in recovery.