Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s sometimes experienced by those who have seen or lived through a traumatic event. While it’s normal to experience anxiety, fear and other symptoms following a traumatic event, if these symptoms don’t dissipate, they could end up creating more problems.
Such persistent and ongoing symptoms could harm a person’s quality of life. The impact can be severe enough to drive the individual to use drugs to self-medicate in an attempt to numb or cope with their symptoms and feelings. Left unchecked, this drug abuse can lead to full-blown addiction that would require rehab treatment.
Some of the common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Re-living the event – The individual relieves the traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares, etc.
- Avoidance – This happens when an individual goes to great lengths to avoid anything or anyone who reminds them of the traumatic event.
- Reactivity – In some cases, individuals with PTSD show negative changes in their emotional or physical reactions e.g. becoming tense or edgy with frequent bursts of anger or becoming jumpy.
- Cognitive and mood symptoms – This refers to negative changes in their mood or thinking. The person may have negative thoughts about the world, others or themselves or they may experience intense feelings of shame or guilt.
Signs of PTSD Drug Abuse
Experiencing a traumatic event is terrifying in itself but having to relive it every so often can make life unbearable. This is why many of those struggling with PTSD seek relief from drugs. Seek professional help if you notice your loved one showing these 5 signs:
- Changes in their personal appearance. When people use drugs, their focus often shifts to getting the next hit and they may neglect personal care, grooming or hygiene.
- Taking unusual risks that are out of character. To obtain drugs, your loved one may start taking risks such as stealing. They may also become secretive and withdrawn.
- Pushing away loved ones and acting out. They may do this to keep their loved ones from finding out about their drug use.
- Neglecting, ignoring or losing interest in activities that they previously enjoyed. The focus on getting the next high crowds out everything else, and the person may neglect their hobbies, schoolwork or job.
- Showing withdrawal symptoms. Those with PTSD and using drugs often show withdrawal symptoms including nausea, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, irritability, etc. when they don’t take their drug of choice.
We Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one is struggling with PTSD and has turned to drugs to cope, the best thing you can do is to seek help for them from a reputable treatment facility such as the Robert Alexander Center for recovery in Kentucky. We have a professional and experienced team of addiction specialists who will guide your loved one through detoxification, before admitting them to a treatment program such as our intensive outpatient treatment or the outpatient care program. Contact us today. We’ll be glad to help.