Introduction: In this article, we are going to give a thorough breakdown on what is PTSD and How Does It relate to veterans? Further, we are going to talk on how is PTSD Treated with Substance Abuse Disorder? And lastly, What Type of Recovery Program Can Help With Co-occurring PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorder? So this article is going to focus on substance abuse in veterans. So grab a cup of coffee as we kick-off with the discussion.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental anxiety disorder that develops after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic, tragic, terrifying or life-threatening event or prolonged trauma. Simultaneous treatment for substance abuse disorders and PTSD has been shown to alleviate symptoms of both disorders and often is the only lifeline to save people drowning in the afflictions of the disorders.
Since we have come to know what PTSD is, how does it relate to veterans? Is something important that we need to discuss.
How does it relate to veterans?
A big research as to the relationship of veterans to PTSD was carried out, and it has been observed that events that lead to PTSD include war or military combat, accidents, physical or sexual assault, abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, bombings, and events in which individuals are injured. Among those with PTSD, co-occurring disorders are frequent, as high rates of combinations of depression and other anxiety disorders with substance addiction are usually found in these individuals.
People who develop PTSD, however, usually experience a trauma so severe that it changes the ability for their brain to properly process the results of the event. In military veterans, for example, are in several occasions faced with combat involving death or injury and in turn can lead to the development of PTSD. Hence, Military service members often develop PTSD as a result of their active duty. Veterans of different wars experience varying rates of PTSD.
How is PTSD Treated with Substance Abuse Disorder?
Exposure therapy can greatly reduce symptoms of PTSD, even if an individual continues to use substances during exposure therapy. Studies have shown that going through treatment that forces these individuals to relive a painful event does not cause an increase in their substance use, nor does it cause a higher dropout rate from ordinary substance use disorder treatment.
According to the National Centre for PTSD, cognitive behavioral therapy — talk-therapy in which patients work with a mental health counsellor to help them become aware of negative or harmful thinking and how to properly respond to it — is the most effective way to treat PTSD.
What Type of Recovery Program Can Help With Co-occurring PTSD and Substance Abuse Disorder?
Evidence shows that in general people have improved PTSD and SUD symptoms when they are provided treatment that addresses both conditions. This can involve any of the following (alone or together):
- Individual or group cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT)
- Specific psychological treatments for PTSD, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE)
- Behavioral couples therapy with your spouse or significant other
- Medications that may help you manage the PTSD or SUD symptoms
- Another treatment program called “COPE,” concurrently treats PTSD and substance use disorders through prolonged exposure to traumatic causes of an individual’s condition, relapse-prevention therapy and psycho-education on PTSD Symptoms. Research has indicated that individuals who complete this treatment program experience improvement in substance abuse habits and PTSD severity.
However, Veterans are strongly advised to talk with the health care provider about treatment for specific symptoms like pain, anger, or sleep problems. So He/She can provide the best recommendation for you.