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Can Drug Addiction Cause PTSD?

Most of us might have previously heard the term PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as something associated with military personnel who have suffered emotional trauma. But PTSD is much more common than that and it can affect people from all walks of life in a number of circumstances.

But can you get PTSD from drug addiction? Let’s find out.

What Is PTSD?

Before we jump into whether you can get PTSD from drug addiction or not, it’s important to understand what PTSD actually is and how it differs from normal trauma.

Trauma by definition is considered to be a response to a deeply stressful event that’s difficult to cope with. This traumatic event can leave the victim suffering from feelings of helplessness, insecurity, and general discomfort.

The degree to which each person can tolerate traumatic events varies. For some, it might be as simple as a breakup with someone they love. However, for others, it could be something more serious like being the victim of a violent act.

That’s because we each react differently to situations and we each have our own threshold for pain and suffering.

But trauma is not PTSD.

Feeling trauma is normal. In fact, data shows that close to 70% of all American adults experience a traumatic event at least once in their life. But we all eventually heal from trauma and move on with our lives.

However, when the trauma is grave enough it sticks around longer, causing PTSD. Unlike trauma, PTSD affects a lower percentage of the population, with only about 7-8% of adults in America reportedly suffering from it at some point in their lifetime. 

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD

Trauma and PTSD are characterized by very specific signs that include both physical and emotional symptoms. If you believe you or someone you love is suffering from trauma it’s always best to check in with your doctor first to avoid complications. 

However, if you were wondering what trauma might feel like, these are some of the most common symptoms.

Emotional and psychological signs and symptoms – 

  • Numbness
  • Feeling sad, depressed, and/or hopeless
  • Being anxious or fearful
  • Having problems concentrating
  • Being in shock, denial, or disbelief
  • Feeling ashamed
  • Feeling anger or having mood swings

Physical signs and symptoms – 

  • Aches and pains
  • Feeling agitated or on the edge
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Having a racing heartbeat

Can Drug Addiction Cause PTSD

So can you get PTSD from drug addiction? Well, let’s let the research speak for itself.

The data collected has shown that people who struggle with drug addiction tend to also suffer from PTSD. In fact, it’s been found that those seeking treatment for PTSD are up to 14 times more likely to also be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.

But does that mean that it’s an addiction that causes PTSD? Is the answer that simple?

Well, it might actually be the other way around. Studies have found that those with PTSD are probably more likely to have substance abuse disorders as they might seek to self-medicate their condition. 

For example, one study showed that veterans with PTSD are more likely to binge drink, as alcohol helps them soothe their feelings.

However, while drug addiction itself might not be a direct cause of PTSD, it can lead to risks that could ultimately cause trauma.

Can Drug Addiction Increase The Risk of PTSD

Drug addiction could in fact increase your risk of suffering from trauma and PTSD which could ultimately lead to suffering from it.

Addiction to drugs usually revolves around a number of high-risk behaviors, such as drug-related crime, accidents, and violence that could develop trauma.

Furthermore, addiction can have detrimental effects on the user’s brain and the chemistry that is in charge of regulating one’s emotions. This can ultimately lead to feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and despair, which can exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD.

PTSD and Addiction Treatment in Austin, Texas

Ava Recovery is Austin’s Premier Leader in Addiction Treatment. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment which is why we offer a holistic and evidence-based approach to our patients.

Recovering from both PTSD and addiction requires a specialized approach that only well-prepared treatment centers can offer.

Contact us today and ask one of our admission professionals how we can help you get the help you need to get sober and heal trauma at the same time.

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