How is PTSD diagnosed?
Post-traumatic stress disorder can only be diagnosed when all symptoms are present over a long period of time, usually a month or more of recurring symptoms. There are a few different signs a therapist will look for that will show them a person is suffering with post-traumatic stress. Through various types of therapies, often cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, or talk therapy treatments, a therapist will see the first signs of PTSD when an individual has an attack. An attack of PTSD is a severe reaction to an emotional or memory triggering stimulant. For those affected by PTSD, anything can be a trigger from sound and sight, to particular smells.
People with PTSD are often overcome by these triggered moments that cause them to revert into their memories of the past trauma, and they have a tough time coming out of these moments. Whether or not someone has PTSD specifically, as soon as a trigger is set off in their mind they need to experience it and safely come down from the episode and back into the present moment. Therapy at The Villa Treatment Center can help people with PTSD to understand what their triggers are and how to address what they’re fearful of so that they can learn to live free of fear and anxiety related to their trauma.
Addiction and PTSD
A person experiencing PTSD will often isolate and avoid people, places, and things that can cause these mental triggers to occur. Fear that any trivial thing may bring on overwhelming stress causes the sufferer to live in a world where everything around them is a cause for concern. This is where addiction comes into play.
Those that experience constant fear and tension try everything they can to get avoid flare-ups of traumatic memories. Soon everything makes them nervous, and they’re constantly irritated, angry, or living in fear. The only way that they believe they can avoid these things is to numb their experiences of life. Abuse of painkillers, antidepressants, opiates and alcohol are of the most common addictions those with PTSD develop. Since living with PTSD can make it impossible to live in the real world, they create a space for themselves within this cloud of drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, this method of self-medication can create abuse of these drugs and alcohol to the point where any sort of life they were living becomes completely unmanageable.
Addiction Hurts, Support Saves
The longer that symptoms of PTSD are left undiagnosed or the actual traumatic event is left untreated or addressed, the worse the symptoms become. Those with PTSD and addiction require dual treatments that must address all sides of the trauma and substance abuse for recovery to have an impact. Family therapy and support groups are integrated into this treatment plan because the strong relationships we develop and the family connections we foster can save us from ourselves. We bring family members into therapy to help them understand how to help someone with recurring trauma, how to help them manage any medications needed, and how to identify signs of relapse.
Those commonly affected by PTSD and addiction:
- Men and women that have been involved in combat
- Those that have experienced child abuse
- Sexual abuse victims
- Those experiencing loss of loved one
- Disaster survivors
- Those affected by depression are at higher risk
This type of mental health condition, when combined with addiction can be fatal. We at The Villa Treatment Center are here to help you or your family member overcome this constant fear of living and the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Call The Villa Treatment Center today to find out more about our dual diagnosis and addiction treatment options.