Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD and addiction

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that develops when an individual experiences one or more traumatic events. Unfortunately, when PTSD goes untreated, those who suffer from it can find themselves developing substance abuse problems that create an entirely new batch of issues. This is commonly referred to as co-occurring conditions or dual-diagnosis. The staff at Northbound Treatment Services can help address both an individual’s struggles with their PTSD and their substance abuse in ways that allow them to start over and live sober.

At Northbound, those diagnosed with PTSD and addiction will go through a number of different treatments and therapies to address their issues both separately and simultaneously. The process of recovering from a dual diagnosis that includes PTSD can take time for some, however, once recovery is solidified, Northbound can help those patients reintegrate back into their everyday lives. However, without treatment such as that which Northbound can provide, the symptoms of PTSD and their effects can lead to worsening symptoms and even more intense experience with addiction.

Causes and Symptoms of PTSD

  • War/Combat Exposure
  • Natural Disasters
  • Accidents
  • Sexual Assault/Rape
  • Physical Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Death/Loss
  • Terrorism

In addition, PTSD is also more common in individuals that already suffer from depression and/or anxiety, or those who have preexisting chemical imbalances in their brain.

Regardless of the cause, many of the symptoms of PTSD are typically the same. Unfortunately, however, these symptoms are what lead to the misuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol as a method of coping. According to the Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, some of the most common symptoms of PTSD can include the following:

  • Vivid flashbacks of traumatic experience(s)
  • Nightmares
  • Extreme distress
  • Physical reactions when thinking of an event
  • Avoidance of people, places, or hobbies
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Growing emotionally detached from others
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Paranoia
  • Intense anxiety
  • Deep depression
  • Hypervigilance
  • Irritability/mood swings

At Northbound PTSD and addiction treatment in Orange County, we do not believe that anyone should have to deal with these symptoms on their own, especially if they are leading to substance abuse. At our facility, we utilize our highly skilled and talented team members to provide individuals with PTSD and substance abuse issues the most comprehensive care possible so that the entire problem is treated – not just one issue over the other.

Psychological Treatment and Medication Options for PTSD

PTSD and substance abuse often require a number of different treatment options, many of which are combined with one another. For example, most treatment facilities will approach PTSD with therapies such as the following:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Psychotherapy

At Northbound, we approach PTSD by using these techniques, in combination with the 12-Steps support. We believe that by working the Steps, those individuals who are dealing with a dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance abuse can begin to see what feeds their trauma and quickly work to begin developing solutions to prevent that from occurring in the future.

In addition, we will also provide a variety of care that includes nutrition counseling, physical exercise, and cultural outings. We also encourage participation in group therapy sessions with both peers and family members to help encourage support throughout the process.

We also recognize that a co-occurring disorder such as PTSD and substance abuse sometimes requires medication assistance. At Northbound, we assess each patient individually to determine if medication is appropriate. Some of the most common medications used to treat PTSD include:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-Anxiety Medications

Northbound only utilizes medication when necessary, and believes that medication administration should be accompanied by a variety of different therapeutic activities in order to achieve the most lasting and effective results.

Do You Need Help for PTSD and Addiction?

At the Northbound PTSD treatment center in Orange County, we understand how your PTSD and substance abuse problem goes hand in hand. We are dedicated to helping you work through your struggles and learn how to cope with your trauma without using ever again. To get the help you deserve, call Northbound today at (866) 311-0003 to be connected to a knowledgeable and caring group of individuals who can get you started on the path to your sobriety immediately.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.