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Trauma Rehab Centers

The Connection between PTSD and Alcoholism

The Connection between PTSD and AlcoholismPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that results from experiencing trauma. Traumatic events that are commonly associated with PTSD include natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, military combat, a hostage or criminal situation and physical or sexual abuse, especially early in childhood. The major symptoms of PTSD are avoidance, reliving symptoms and arousal symptoms. People with PTSD are highly susceptible to substance abuse and alcoholism, but drug abuse like this can exacerbate PTSD symptoms, or even bring the disorder to a head. People with this disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol to cope with their symptoms, like nightmares, flashbacks, fear, emotional numbness, feeling on-edge and more.

How Trauma Causes PTSD and Alcoholism

People who experience trauma are prone to PTSD, and overcoming the trauma is difficult. However, some individuals are more prone to the condition, because genetic, physiological or social factors affect someone’s disposition to hurtful events. This means that a traumatic experience can overwhelm someone, causing her to suffer from the issues she endured. Others may lack the support and resources they need to overcome a traumatic life event.

A traumatic experience will impact everyone in some way. People cannot control how much an event impacts their wellbeing. The event may cause so much anxiety that it interferes with someone’s health, wellbeing, relationships and basic functioning. To cope with so much physical and emotional angst, individuals with PTSD are quickly drawn to alcohol to alleviate their pain. Alcohol depresses the brain, which calms one’s nerves and anxiety, decreases the hyper-vigilant state and reduces inhibitions for fear and distrust. People with PTSD may utilize alcohol to fall asleep, increase social behavior, forget painful memories and to drown their sorrows. In addition, trauma and anxiety are also connected to physical or chronic pain symptoms. Alcohol and other drugs may be used to self-medicate physical pain, emotional or psychological pain.

When PTSD and alcoholism co-occur, the symptoms of each illness are exacerbated and perpetual. Major health, emotional and behavior problems will appear in those who struggle with both PTSD and alcoholism, and there is a heightened risk for self-destructive behaviors, suicidal tendencies and overdose (or alcohol poisoning).

Where to Get Help for PTSD and Alcoholism?

Dual Diagnosis treatment for PTSD and alcoholism requires specialized help to address the complex relationship between both issues. If you or someone you love struggles with both PTSD and alcoholism, then call our toll-free helpline. Our recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and address your concerns. Whether you need to hear more about your treatment options or insurance coverage, we can help. If you’re ready, we can even connect you with the top-rated treatment services for your unique needs. To learn more about treating PTSD and alcoholism, call and speak with a recovery professional today.