PTSD & Addiction: What You Need to Know

ptsd addiction help

Struggling with addiction doesn’t mean you’re weak. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, defective, or any other negative adjective for that matter. It means that you have a chronic brain disease, and just like other chronic diseases — diabetes, for one — it could kill you if you don’t take care of it. Living with addiction isn’t just uncomfortable; it’s extremely dangerous, and that’s especially true if you’re dealing with a mental health issue at the same time. If you’re struggling with PTSD and addiction, for example, here’s what you need to know and how to get help.

Addiction & PTSD 

Trauma is fuel to the fire of addiction. So, it’s not surprising that people who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) also struggle with addiction at a greater rate than the general public. According to one study, more than 51% of men with PTSD also had a substance use disorder; for women, it was 28%. In the general public, that number is closer to 10%.

PTSD and addiction is especially common in veterans. One study found that a whopping 75% of Vietnam War vets with PTSD also had a substance use disorder. When you think about what they experienced, though, it’s not surprising.

Many people who struggle with the crippling symptoms of PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol as an escape from the pain. Ironically, it’s that self-medicating that often makes things worse. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant that can exacerbate the low feelings associated with PTSD. Pyschedelics can only intensify painful flashbacks and brutal memories. 

Plus, drugs and alcohol can create new problems that have nothing to do with your trauma: from relationship issues to trouble at work or financial and legal issues. In short, drugs and alcohol are not a remedy for PTSD and when casual use blossoms into addiction, your pain could actually get a whole lot worse.

Treatment for PTSD & Addiction

Residential addiction treatment is the best way to untangle the mess that substance abuse can make in your life. It’s a time when you can focus on yourself and get the help you need to start a new path.

In fact, some addiction treatment facilities offer an approach called “dual-diagnosis” that allows you to get treatment for multiple issues at the same time: from addiction to PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more. It’s the best way to tackle all of your problems in one place, and the only way to truly build lasting recovery.

Every step of the way, you’ll be helped along by caring and experienced professionals who’ve helped thousands of people just like you. But, because you’re unique, they’ll create a custom treatment plan designed to help solve your specific problems. You’ll get the help you deserve to find freedom from addiction.

How to Get Help for PTSD & Addiction

If you think you might need help for your addiction and PTSD, don’t be ashamed. Give us a call or send a chat and let us know how we can help — because you deserve it. If your life has been dark and painful lately, it’s time to walk a new road in recovery.

P.S. If you're a veteran struggling with PTSD and addiction, check out our ebook.