Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction in New Jersey

Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction in New Jersey

Stress is a natural part of daily life. You may experience brief periods of stress throughout the day. Some events, such as an argument with a loved one or unexpected traffic, can be stressful. However, most people develop the skills to manage stress so it doesn’t keep them from doing what they must do.

But sometimes, a stressful event may overwhelm your ability to cope. The tools you use to manage stress, like exercise or talking to a friend, aren’t enough to manage your stress. You may have long-lasting effects called “trauma.”

If you have long-lasting trauma after a highly stressful event, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can keep you from functioning. It can harm your mental and physical health and may increase your risk of developing alcohol or drug abuse. 

This article will explore the connection between PTSD and addiction. You will learn the symptoms of this condition and how to find the treatment and support you need.

Contact The Living Room New Jersey team now to learn about our holistic treatment programs. You may also verify your insurance or set up an intake assessment. 

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition. People may develop PTSD after experiencing a very stressful event. Some examples of events that may lead someone to develop PTSD include:

  • A severe medical condition, such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke
  • A traumatic birth
  • A car accident
  • A severe injury, such as a fall
  • Being the victim of a physical or sexual assault
  • Witnessing terrorism or a violent crime
  • Experiencing the death of a loved one
  • Surviving a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake
  • Military service or combat

People may develop post-traumatic stress disorder after any event that causes them to feel terrified or highly stressed. 

Not all people who experience a life-threatening or highly stressful event will develop PTSD. About 6% of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Each person has their own experiences, needs, and strengths that affect their likelihood of developing PTSD. 

Certain risk factors, such as a history of mental illness, can make it more likely someone will develop PTSD. However, anyone can develop post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of whether they have other risk factors. 

It is possible to treat PTSD with medications, lifestyle changes, and therapy. People with symptoms of PTSD should seek treatment to learn how to manage this condition.

Recognizing the Symptoms of PTSD

If you go through something very stressful or have a history of traumatic experiences, you may develop PTSD. Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD can help you find effective treatment. 

The most significant symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder is stress. This stress can show up in many ways, including:

  • Appetite changes–eating more or less than before
  • Constantly feeling “alert” and aware of potential danger
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping or having insomnia
  • Severe depression
  • Angry outbursts or aggression
  • Negative thoughts about themselves
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks–re-living the traumatic event

Some people develop symptoms of trauma immediately after the stressful events. Sometimes, it can take months or years for symptoms to develop. PTSD is a long-term condition that often requires treatment and ongoing support. 

People may experience symptoms of PTSD differently as time goes on. Symptoms can change over time. They may also become more or less intense.

What is the Connection Between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction?

Mental health experts believe that untreated PTSD can increase a person’s risk for substance abuse. People with PTSD often live with intense stress and uncomfortable, disruptive symptoms. In some cases, people may use drugs or alcohol to cope with this stress. 

Using drugs and alcohol to cope with emotional pain can lead to addiction. Heavy or frequent substance use can cause changes in how your brain and body work. After using addictive substances for some time, you may develop physical dependence on them.

People with physical dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol usually need treatment to quit. Those living with PTSD and addiction require specialized treatment for both conditions. 

Treatment for PTSD and Addiction

About half of all people who seek treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) also have symptoms of PTSD. People with both conditions require comprehensive treatment for both conditions. 

Integrated therapy, also known as dual diagnosis treatment, involves addressing both PTSD and addiction concurrently rather than treating them separately. This approach may include various therapeutic modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). These therapies help individuals process traumatic memories, manage distressing symptoms, and develop coping skills to prevent relapse.

Treatment plans for PTSD and addiction include:

  • Assessments
  • Medically-supported detox programs
  • Individual counseling
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other behavioral therapies
  • Support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Relapse prevention education and coping skills
  • Mindfulness, exercise, nutrition support, and other holistic therapies
  • Aftercare planning

A treatment center must provide compassionate, trauma-informed care and tailored treatment programs. Effective treatment can give people the tools to manage their PTSD symptoms and avoid relapse. 

Trauma-Focused Therapy for PTSD and Addiction

Trauma-focused therapy aims to address the underlying trauma that contributes to PTSD symptoms. Therapeutic techniques such as EMDR and prolonged exposure therapy (PE) are commonly used to help individuals process traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment. By confronting and reprocessing these memories, individuals can experience a reduction in PTSD symptoms and decrease the need to self-medicate with substances.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love needs treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction, you are not alone. Reach out to the specialists at The Living Room now to learn about our treatment programs. You may also schedule an intake assessment.

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