Healing the Scars of PTSD After Drug Abuse
06/07/19: Addiction Prevention \ Addiction Recovery
PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that is common with veterans because they experience so many terrible things during their service for the country. PTSD can affect others, though. People who have been injured in accidents, have been sexually abused, have been physically abused or have gone through a scary or traumatizing experience can also experience PTSD. Many times, people who suffer from drug abuse have experienced many PTSD causes, or use to mask PTSD.
PTSD affects everyone differently. For some people, it causes horrible night terrors that can cause them to wake up in terror or anger. PTSD can also cause people to not be able to hear certain sounds without having flashing back to their traumatizing experiences. For example, many veterans can’t hear fireworks because it is a trigger for them. It’s difficult for those suffering from PTSD to know what their triggers are because they often don’t realize they are triggers until after they are already triggered by them. It often takes being triggered a few times before someone recognizes the correlation between the event or sound and their PTSD.
PTSD and Drug Abuse
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from PTSD don’t know how to handle their episodes of stress and anxiety that come from the condition. Some people choose to use drugs to try to mask their PTSD or to at least mute it somewhat. They want to dull down their senses so that they won’t react to things as much as they do when they are sober. Some people also turn to drugs to help them sleep at night because when they are intoxicated, they don’t remember their dreams or feel like they don’t dream at all.
Using drugs to mask the effects of PTSD is never a good idea. There are always risks associated with self-medicating including injury, addiction and even an overdose. If you or someone you know are using drugs to treat PTSD, you may want to consider trying to find a different method of treatment for the condition.
People who become addicted to drugs when trying to self-medicate often needs to go to a professional drug addiction center to get clean. The centers offer them the ability to not only detox in a safe way, but to also get the psychological help for their PTSD.
PTSD Doesn’t Go Away on Its Own
Another common misconception with people who battle PTSD is that it will simply go away on its own, but this isn’t the case. PTSD that is left untreated can actually get worse over time. You don’t grow out of PTSD or get over it as the years past. It is a mental condition that you need to face head-on if you want to be able to manage it and be able to live a more normal life.
Counseling Can Help
Many people don’t realize that going to see a counselor talk about their experiences can greatly help with their PTSD symptoms. A counselor who is trained in PTSD treatment can help you determine why you feel the way that you feel and what steps you can take to handle your triggers when they arise. They can also walk you through things that you can do to feel more comfortable with the things that you have seen and experienced.
Talk About Your Condition
PTSD often brings a lot of shame for some people. They feel weak because they think that they should be strong enough to overcome the PTSD and drug abuse through pure will and desire. That’s not how it works, though. There are many people battling PTSD who feels so much shame that they end up taking their lives because they don’t know what to do. By talking openly with others about your PTSD, you could save someone’s life. They could learn through you that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that they can get help to manage their condition in a more productive way. Realizing that there are others going through similar things could serve as the catalyst for the person to get psychological help for their condition.
Consider Joining a Support Group
It can be hard to talk openly and honestly with people who don’t have PTSD because you are fearful that they will judge you or just won't be able to grasp what you are going through. Joining a PTSD support group can be helpful because it allows you to be surrounded by others with PTSD who can relate to the experiences that you are having.
Within the group, you can talk about things without the fear of being judged and with the confidence that everything will stay confidential within the meeting. Being able to talk to people who are battling the same issues that you are allows you to learn new ways to handle new issues when they arise without drug abuse. Everyone handles things differently and the methods that someone in the group uses may also work for you.
Emergency Help is Sometimes Needed
If you start to fall down a deep hole of depression and feel suicidal, call for professional help right away. People often make the mistake of brushing off the feeling as being a fleeting blip on their subconscious, but if you ever feel any suicidal feelings, you need to get yourself help immediately. It only takes a moment for depression to take over and for you to make a decision that could end your life. Depression is common with PTSD so getting help when you need it.
Getting help for your PTSD ensures that you are able to live as productive and comfortable of a life as possible. Dealing with the symptoms of PTSD on your own can be very difficult and even dangerous. There are medications that you can take to help you handle the PTSD symptoms, but they need to be prescribed and monitored by a medical professional to ensure that they are taken safely and properly. You should try to treat your PTSD through non-prescription methods before taking any prescriptions though. Try art therapy, yoga, group counseling, and individual counseling to see if they can help you better manage the symptoms of PTSD.
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