People suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) are two to four times as likely to also deal with addiction when compared to individuals who aren’t struggling with it based on a recent study by NCBI. Even with this being the case, treatment is always readily available for those seeking help.

First responders, in particular, have an even higher chance of experiencing symptoms relating to PTSD. During a recent study completed at the University of Phoenix, first responders were surveyed to analyze their experience relating to mental health issues. The study found that one-third of them received a formal diagnosis — and half of these individuals did not receive treatment or pre-exposure training.

Regardless of how severe one’s symptoms and addiction are, we’re here to help. With post traumatic stress disorder impacting between 7 and 8 percent of people at one point or another, at Transitions Recovery, we’re ready to assist at any time. 

What Is PTSD?

PTSD happens as a result of one experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event. The danger causes the brain to trigger a “fight or flight” response, resulting in an alteration of brain chemicals and an elevation of blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. The individual’s focus and attention levels peak and their adrenaline rushes like a river.

These features assist people in escaping potentially dangerous situations, and this is the right response to danger. The stress can continue after the danger passes, and for those who find danger in their day-to-day job, it can persist long after it’s essential for protecting the individual from harm. 

What Are The Symptoms?

While EMT’s, police officers, and firefighters notoriously experience traumatic events, it can affect anyone at any time. It’s diagnosed if symptoms are interfering with the individual’s daily life and persist for a minimum of one month. These are the symptoms one might be experiencing:

  • Avoidance — the individual stays away from people, places, or things that remind them of the event.
  • Re-experiencing — this person can experience flashbacks, nightmares, or scary thoughts.
  • Arousal and reactivity — someone with the disorder might have difficulty sleeping, find themselves “on edge,” have angry outbursts, or get startled easily.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms — this individual could have distorted feelings of guilt, a negative self-image, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, or memory problems.

PTSD And Alcohol Addiction: Getting Help

Substance abuse is sometimes used to cope with traumatic stress events. These substances can make treatment more complicated, but abuse is appealing because it can assist the person with escaping.

The use of substances can decrease anxiety, distract from difficult emotions, and even increase pleasure. Even with this being the case, when the substance wears off, the patient can feel lower than ever, giving a good reason as to why help is essential for anyone coping with these issues.

This web copy was reviewed by Transitions Recovery Program’s Director – Marian Bach, LMHC, CAP