You shouldn’t have to relive traumatic events continually.
At Beach House, we recognize the negative impact that PTSD can have on your life, especially when it’s coupled with substance abuse disorder.
Many individuals who have experienced traumatic events turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the overwhelming emotional pain and distress that trauma can bring. These substances may offer a temporary escape, a momentary respite from the haunting memories and emotional scars of trauma. However, their relief is short-lived, and the consequences can be severe.
If you or a loved one are dealing with life-altering PTSD symptoms, personalized PTSD counseling at Beach House may be your next best step forward.
Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop in response to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.
What makes PTSD different from the temporary emotional instability that generally occurs after a life-altering ordeal is its progression. Although many people will endure a psychological or physical shock at some point, the emotional disruption will eventually decrease with time, support, and self-care. When a person’s trauma worsens, that person likely has PTSD.
PTSD can affect people of all ages and backgrounds and occur after various traumatic experiences. This condition can co-occur with other psychological disorders, like anxiety or depression.
Common signs of PTSD include the following
- Sleep disorders
- Night terrors
- Social avoidance
- Persistent negative thoughts
- Mood fluctuations or irritability
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Memory loss
- Loss of impulse control
- Loss of focus
- Suspicion of unfamiliar people or circumstances
- Reliance on mood-altering substances
People struggling with PTSD generally experience persistent negative thoughts and feelings of anxiety. However, some social or environmental triggers can generate sudden emotional and physical responses. Minor, unexpected sounds or motions can cause a surge of adrenaline and feelings of terror. It is widespread for people with PTSD to actively avoid situations that might generate such responses.
Additionally, unmanaged PTSD can have physical ramifications. A chronically elevated stress response can trigger the following physical symptoms
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Severe headaches
- Muscle tension/soreness
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Hair loss
Unfortunately, recognizing PTSD is often challenging. Sufferers can learn to conceal their symptoms from their loved ones effectively. Sometimes, PTSD symptoms do not emerge for months or years after the traumatic event.
What Causes PTSD?
Any emotionally or physically traumatic circumstance can lead to emotional disturbances. However, events commonly known to cause PTSD include long-term sexual or physical abuse, violent assaults, and automobile collisions.
Military combat is also a prevalent cause of PTSD. Beach House Center for Recovery is passionately committed to supporting our veterans with military addiction treatment and as a participating provider for the VA and Tricare.
Types of PTSD
PTSD is a complex condition that can manifest in various ways, and it’s often categorized into different types based on specific features or causes.
Some common types of PTSD include
- Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)
ASD is a type of PTSD that occurs immediately after a traumatic event. It involves symptoms similar to PTSD, such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and hypervigilance. However, ASD typically lasts a shorter duration (a minimum of three days to a maximum of four weeks) and may resolve independently without becoming chronic.
- Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)
Complex PTSD is associated with prolonged exposure to repeated trauma, often when a person has limited control or escape. It can result from experiences like long-term abuse, captivity, or ongoing interpersonal trauma. C-PTSD is characterized by symptoms similar to PTSD but with additional challenges in emotion regulation, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships.
- Delayed-Onset PTSD
Some individuals may not develop full-blown PTSD immediately after a traumatic event but experience delayed-onset symptoms. These symptoms can emerge months or even years after the trauma occurred.
- Dissociative PTSD
This type of PTSD is characterized by symptoms of dissociation, where individuals may feel disconnected from themselves or their surroundings. They might experience amnesia, depersonalization (feeling like an observer of their own life), or derealization (feeling like the world is unreal or distorted).
- Birth-Related PTSD
Some individuals experience PTSD symptoms following a traumatic childbirth experience. This can include feelings of powerlessness, distressing medical interventions, or complications during delivery.
- Combat-Related PTSD
Military personnel exposed to combat situations may develop combat-related PTSD. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance related to combat experiences.
- Natural Disaster-Related PTSD
Survivors of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires, can develop PTSD symptoms due to the traumatic event.
CPTSD vs. PTSD
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are related but distinct conditions.
PTSD typically results from a single traumatic event or a series of intense, discrete traumas. At the same time, C-PTSD is associated with prolonged and severe trauma, often interpersonal, such as ongoing abuse or captivity.
Symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts, avoidance, mood changes, and increased arousal. C-PTSD consists of these symptoms but also involves
- Emotional dysregulation
- Disturbances in self-identity
- Persistent feelings of shame
- Difficulties forming healthy relationships
While both conditions may benefit from therapy, the approach and duration of treatment may differ. However, C-PTSD often requires longer-term and more comprehensive therapy to address its complex features.
The Link Between PTSD And Substance Abuse
It is estimated that people seeking treatment for PTSD are 14 times more likely to have a co-existing substance use disorder.
Because PTSD disrupts the brain’s ability to self-regulate, people who struggle with the disorder often gravitate towards mood-altering substances, like alcohol or narcotics, that promote feelings of euphoria.
PTSD and addiction often result in patterns of emotional dysregulation. PTSD causes debilitating symptoms that the sufferer addresses with drugs or alcohol. This can quickly lead to a co-occurring diagnosis of PTSD and alcohol abuse or substance abuse disorder.
It is essential to know that drug or alcohol use causes the symptoms of PTSD to worsen over time while causing additional physical and emotional deterioration. This phenomenon is called an addiction cycle and can be hard to break for many. That’s where we come in, providing comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment that meets you where you are.
PTSD Treatment Options in Florida
Treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder can be highly effective in helping individuals manage their symptoms, improve their overall well-being, and regain control over their lives.
Treatment choice depends on individual needs, preferences, and the severity of PTSD symptoms. Early intervention and ongoing support can significantly improve the prognosis of individuals with PTSD.
Standard treatment options include
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
- Symptom-specific medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
- Art therapy
- Equine therapy
- Self-help strategies (e.g., self-care, journaling, and reading about PTSD)
- Support groups
It’s important to note that the treatment choice should be made in consultation with a qualified mental health professional. Effective treatment often involves a combination of therapies and may be tailored to address an individual’s unique needs and circumstances.
Personalized Care for PTSD and Addiction Recovery in Florida
Struggling with PTSD and substance abuse without professional clinical support can be life-threatening.
As one of the leading PTSD treatment centers in Florida, we pride ourselves on partnering with our patients to discover the safest, most comfortable, and most effective treatment plans for addressing addiction and their co-occurring disorders.
We offer evidence-based clinical treatment, medically supervised detox, and a broad spectrum of intensive therapeutic interventions and mental health treatment, allowing our patients to explore the root causes of their traumas and addictive behaviors.
Please contact our compassionate and helpful admissions counselors today to learn more about our treatment programs.