Sometimes, the hardest wounds to heal are the ones we cannot see. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a crippling mental health condition that prevents so many of our vets from enjoying the freedom that they fought for. Even worse, many turn to drugs and alcohol in the hopes of self-medicating PTSD, creating a dangerous combination of mental illness and addiction that can be challenging to unwind. However, there is hope. Freedom from PTSD and addiction is possible with the right treatment and support.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. (The nature of what constitutes a traumatic event varies from person to person.) People with PTSD struggle to process and move on from the trauma. Instead, they experience unwanted memories of the event, nightmares, anxiety, irritability, depression, and more. Paradoxically, although drugs or alcohol can make those symptoms more bearable in the moment, substances can make PTSD symptoms worse in the long run. Too many fail to realize that until it’s too late and addiction is in full swing.
PTSD & Veterans
According to the National Center for PTSD, up to 30% of veterans may experience PTSD at some point in their lives, depending on the period of their service. Conversely, only about 6% of people nationwide will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. The reason why is simple: As the National Center for PTSD puts it, “When you serve in the military, you may be exposed to different types of traumas than civilians.”
That may include deployment to a war zone, sexual assault in the military, witnessing an accident, or even something as simple as having a beloved pet die while you were deployed. It’s important to understand that it’s not a question of whether your trauma was “bad enough.” When it comes to PTSD, you deserve treatment for any type of trauma that gives you lingering symptoms that make it hard to live your daily life.
Treating PTSD & Substance Abuse
Veterans and civilians alike who struggle with PTSD often attempt to medicate themselves with other substances. For example, people who feel depressed might take cocaine to feel more energetic. People struggling from nightmares might drink excessively in the evenings in the hopes of a total blackout until morning. While the intention is understandable, adding drugs and alcohol to PTSD is like pouring fuel on a fire. It will only make the situation worse.
Addiction & Mental Health Treatment for Veterans
Clinical mental health treatment has been shown to be extremely effective in easing the symptoms of PTSD. Even just counseling and medication alone can have a noticeable effect. For veterans who struggle with addiction as well as PTSD, an addiction treatment program for veterans with a dual diagnosis component addressing PTSD can be the beginning of the road to recovery.
In a typical day at our PTSD treatment for veterans program, you'll experience a variety of treatment modalities meant to help you heal at a pace that feels safe and comfortable to you. Depending on your needs, you may build trust with a counselor in one-on-one therapy, find fellowship with your peers in group therapy, and heal your brain with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). You'll have plenty of time to process your treatment, with free hours to swim in our pool, walk the peaceful grounds, or hang with a therapy dog or horse. At the same time, educational sessions will teach you how to live life successfully, with peace and stability in recovery.
If you’d like to learn more about our treatment program for veterans, give us a call. Depending on the day, you’ll likely be able to speak with our Admissions Director, Drew, who is a veteran himself and an alum of Country Road. You don’t have to live like that any longer, and you don’t have to go it alone on the road to recovery.