June is PTSD Awareness Month. It is important that we devote a month to post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that affects eight million people worldwide. Learning about PTSD, its causes, symptoms, and treatments is the first step in being able to help others who might be suffering and to avoid inadvertent harm that results from a lack of understanding. Substance abuse and addiction commonly co-occur with PTSD, but the good news is that trauma therapy can be extremely effective in helping people overcome their PTSD and substance abuse.
If you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD and addiction, do not wait. Contact Serenity Light Recovery today by calling 855.658.6109 or using our secure online form.
What Is PTSD?
About 70% of adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetimes. 20% of those will develop PTSD. Triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or terrifying event, PTSD is estimated to affect one in thirteen people at some point over the course of a lifetime.
Trauma can be experienced as many things, but some common traumatic experiences that can trigger PTSD are:
- Sexual or physical assault
- Natural disasters
- Acts of terrorism
- Military combat
- Serious accidents and injury
- The loss of a loved one
There are numerous symptoms that can arise when someone has PTSD, but some common warning signs that someone is struggling with the disorder include:
- Intrusive thoughts: recurrent, unwanted, upsetting memories of the event, nightmares, or reliving the event as if it were happening now (flashbacks)
- Avoidant behaviors: avoiding places and people that might be reminders of previous trauma as well as discussing anything about the event
- Changes in thinking: negative thoughts about self or others, hopelessness, memory lapses, feeling detached or emotionally numb
- Intense physical and emotional responses: extreme anxiety, being in a constant state of fight or flight, insomnia, exaggerated startle response, extreme guilt or shame
Many people who experience trauma can emerge from the initial challenges and continue living happy and healthy lives given adequate time and care. Unfortunately, one in five will find that their symptoms worsen. If severe symptoms last for months or years and affect the ability to function, communicate, and engage with others, PTSD is likely.
PTSD and Addiction
Among people diagnosed with PTSD, about half of men and nearly a third of women suffer from alcohol abuse or addiction, and about a third of men and a quarter of women experience drug abuse or addiction.
The reasons for the high overlap are numerous, but part of it has to do with endorphin withdrawal. The body of someone undergoing a traumatic event, once or multiple times, is flooded with naturally occurring endorphins. These are the body’s neurotransmitters that alleviate feelings of pain and fear and increase feelings of wellbeing. The artificially increased levels of these endorphins help the person survive the trauma but end up creating a void when the event is over. Many PTSD sufferers turn to drugs and alcohol simply to return them to the positive feelings that helped them cope with the trauma so that they can cope with the PTSD they are left with. Of course, the soothing effects of drugs or alcohol don’t last, and addiction is a serious risk.
There is treatment for PTSD as well as co-occurring PTSD and addiction. Treatment can effectively mitigate symptoms, increase functioning, and return sufferers to wellness.
Trauma Therapy at Serenity Light Recovery
There is a range of therapies that are used to treat PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. Under the umbrella of trauma therapy are trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). These therapies are also highly effective for people with a dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance abuse or addiction.
At Serenity Light Recovery, we offer these therapeutic modalities in conjunction with numerous other services that help sufferers return to a fulfilling, healthy life of recovery and wellness.
National PTSD Awareness Day
Towards the end of PTSD Awareness Month is a special day set aside to talk about the complex disorder that affects so many people worldwide. June 27, 2021, is National PTSD Awareness Day. We hope you will join us in spreading the word about PTSD awareness.
If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, we encourage you to take advantage of this month of awareness to explore further. One way to do that is to reach out to us at Serenity Light Recovery. We have a compassionate and professional staff, many with lived experience, ready to answer questions, provide guidance, and help you take the first steps when you are ready. Call us at 855.658.6109 or use our online form.