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PTSD and Alcoholism

PTSD and Alcoholism

Did you know that some cases of alcohol use disorder (AUD) are actually dual diagnosis cases? Sometimes, an AUD can co-occur with another mental health issue, such as anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression disorders. In fact, PTSD and alcoholism are more likely to be comorbid than any other mental health issue paired with an AUD. In cases like this, a PTSD treatment program or an addiction treatment program alone may not be enough to successfully help a client overcome their mental health issues.

A dual diagnosis treatment program would be ideal. However, dual diagnosis cases are more difficult to determine, even with a thorough assessment process. Searching for a dual diagnosis program in Panama City Beach, Florida? Reach out to Recovery Bay Center today. You can call 833.991.2955 or contact our team online.

What Is the Connection Between PTSD and Alcoholism?

As mentioned earlier, the combination of PTSD and alcoholism is a common form of a dual diagnosis case — especially for clients who are also war veterans. It’s typical for those who have experienced a traumatic ordeal to turn to alcohol to self-medicate and numb their pain.

PTSD is a mental health issue that occurs in people after they have experienced a significant traumatic event. PTSD impacts more than 3.5% of American adults or an estimated 5.2 million people. Cases of PTSD can last for as little as a few months or continue for the rest of a person’s life and can be acute, delayed, or ongoing.

After traumatic experiences, it’s common for people to experience anxiety, depression, feelings of aggression, helplessness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. People struggling with PTSD often go through flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They may also develop guilt and shame, which can manifest in the development of an addiction. However, developing disorders like AUD can worsen PTSD symptoms and lead to more uncomfortable side effects.

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What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis means that someone has two co-occurring or comorbid disorders, one of which is a substance use disorder (SUD) like an AUD. Because one disorder can mask or worsen the symptoms of the other, it is often difficult to determine which came first.

Although these disorders often occur together, the timing doesn’t mean that one caused the other — even if one developed first. Experts believe that there are three possibilities as to why dual diagnosis cases occur:

  • Common risk factors — like genetics, stress, and trauma — may contribute to both SUDs and other mental health disorders.
  • Symptoms of other mental health disorders can contribute to the development of SUDs. For example, people struggling with mental disorders may use addictive substances to self-medicate and try to feel better temporarily. Also, mental health disorders may change the brain to make it more likely for addiction to develop.
  • Symptoms of SUDs can contribute to the development of another mental health disorder.

These symptoms may change the brain in ways that make it more likely for another mental health disorder to develop.

When Should You Consider a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

If you or someone you love is struggling with two different mental health disorders, such as PTSD and alcohol use disorder, it’s best to seek professional help. However, both conditions must be treated at the same time. Otherwise, any help — professional or otherwise — wouldn’t be as useful or effective. It’s best to consider a dual diagnosis treatment program that can be customized for the needs of your particular case.

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A dual diagnosis treatment program often includes behavioral therapy sessions and medications. After the formal treatment ends, clients often join support groups to have access to a supportive community.

Ready To Learn More About Recovery Bay Center’s Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

If you’re looking for a dual diagnosis treatment program in Panama City Beach, Florida, contact Recovery Bay Center today. You can call 833.991.2955 or reach out to our team online.