According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 7-8 out every 100 people will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives. And, unfortunately, those who suffer from PTSD are more like to also struggle with alcohol or drug addiction if they do not seek treatment for their disorder. In order to protect loved ones in your life from substance addiction, it’s essential to understand how PTSD and addiction can be connected.

What Causes PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event in their lives. While many people associate PTSD with military soldiers — who are commonly at high risk for developing PTSD — the disorder can also affect those who have suffered physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, been in a traumatic accident, or lost a loved one, amongst other types of emotional trauma.

How Untreated PTSD Can Lead to Substance Addiction

When someone suffers from PTSD, they can often have symptoms such as:

  • Flashbacks: Triggers that cause the person to suddenly experience highly-vivid memories of the traumatic event.

  • Avoidance: Those with PTSD will avoid places, people, and situations that may trigger them.

  • Reactivity: They may be easily triggered, constantly feel on edge, or be easily spooked.

When someone doesn’t receive the proper treatment to overcome their illness or tries to handle symptoms on their own, the anxiety and stress caused by PTSD can lead many adults to turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. Thus, a vicious cycle can begin once they’ve discovered how drugs and alcohol can temporarily quell their stresses.

However, that relief doesn’t last for long, and as they use more of the substance and build up a higher tolerance, adults end up becoming addicted to and dependent on the substance.

Only once a person has addressed their PTSD, and the resulting addiction, can they begin to heal and live a healthier, sober, more fulfilling life.

Addressing the core of the trauma is important, but it is just as crucial that adults take stock of how it has affected their lives and what they can do to recover. The Silver Ridge trauma-informed care program educates clients on the impact of unresolved trauma so that they can understand how it affects an addiction. Contact us today to get help today.