PTSD and Substance Abuse
Dual Diagnosis Treatment near Jacksonville, FL
Our Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center is uniquely well equipped to help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorder. As a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Facility, we specialize in treating addiction and the underlying causes that lead to its development. Although anyone can suffer from trauma disorder and PTSD, our proximity to Jacksonville, Florida has given us experience in helping servicemen and women and their families.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a prevalent mental disorder within the United States military. Members who have experienced numerous deployments and been exposed to combat are at risk of developing PTSD. Post-traumatic stress is a mental disorder that is defined as experiencing overwhelming fear, stress, and anxiety after witnessing or participating in a traumatic event. This event could be a natural disaster, physical or sexual assault, childhood abuse, or military combat.
Unfortunately, due to the unrelenting stress and anxiety that is caused by PTSD, many people try to cope by using drugs or alcohol. With active military members and veterans, the chance of developing PTSD and a substance use disorder (SUD) is very high.
It was recorded during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that 1 in 10 soldiers who returned struggled with substance abuse. Approximately 20% of veterans that have been diagnosed with PTSD are also dealing with some form of addiction.
PTSD, substance abuse, and addiction are part of an interconnected relationship. They form a vicious cycle that is difficult to break without treatment. Struggling with the aftereffects of trauma and the high-intensity stress and anxiety can lead to self-medicating with illicit drugs or alcohol. Over time the use of drugs and alcohol will interfere with memory, impulse control, and an ability to function correctly. This makes it difficult to hold down a job and maintain healthy relationships.
Treating PTSD and addiction is best done at a recovery center that provides different types of therapy and programs for treatment. Unfortunately, a large number of veterans who are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders often leave treatment prematurely. In doing so, they risk relapsing because they have not learned how to cope with their trauma.
Treatment at Dr. Paul's By The Sea
At Dr. Paul's By The Sea, we work with patients who have been diagnosed with PTSD and are struggling with addiction. Our therapy and treatment programs are specialized for the individual based on their needs. We welcome military members from the Jacksonville, Fl community who may be dealing with substance abuse issues due to stressful situations and crushing anxiety.
Through our services, our patients can learn how to cope with their post-traumatic stress in a healthy way. At the same time, they will have the ability to go through detox which will expel the drugs and alcohol from their body.
Our therapy program for co-occurring disorders includes:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A therapist will work with a patient one-on-one to help them work through their traumatic experience. Altering the patient's thought process regarding the trauma allows them to work through the experience rather than avoiding it. Understanding the way a patient thinks about the trauma and how it triggers them is an important factor with CBT. The therapist can then teach the patient to alter their thinking and form coping techniques for their symptoms.
- Group Therapy: By participating in a group, our patients will experience support from a community that knows exactly what they are are going through. Sharing experiences and their own struggles with a co-occurring disorder in a safe, non-judgemental environment, can help patients understand that they are not alone. Forming that group bond will provide encouragement as they progress through treatment.
- Gestalt Therapy: This therapy will help patients suffering from PTSD focus on the here and now. This allows the patient a break from re-experiencing the trauma constantly. Helping to separate their feelings and emotions about past trauma and their feelings in the present.
Dr. Paul's By The Sea employs these therapy techniques so that our patients receive the best treatment possible. We also use medication to help curb depression and manage anxiety. While it is possible to form an addiction to prescription drugs, our patients will be closely monitored by our medical specialists. Thereby preventing the risk of developing an addiction.
Our treatment center in St. Augustine also uses inpatient and outpatient programs. By participating in inpatient treatment and IOP, our patients can receive medical assistance while going through detox and withdrawal. At our facility, we provide treatment for the mind and the body so that our patients can begin to create the foundation for a better life.
PTSD & Alcoholism in the Military
It has been recorded that more than 1 in 4 deaths in the military are the result of substance abuse. Post-traumatic stress disorders in active military members and veterans will often increase the need to self-medicate. They do this to numb the stress and anxiety caused by the trauma. The most common substance abuse used by the military is alcohol, which has become one of the highest-ranking issues within the military.
Drinking alcohol provides short term relief for those experiencing symptoms of PTSD. It has a significant effect on the structure of the brain; it interrupts or blocks chemical signals between brain cells.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it can slow brain functioning. This causes the mind and body to become relaxed and sluggish, which is why people drink when they are anxious or stressed.
However, this becomes a problem when alcohol is used to cope with extreme symptoms of trauma. These include constant depression, intense anxiety, and high-stress situations.
People with PTSD, primarily active and veteran members of the military, will drink excessively, and overtime, it will develop into an uncontrollable issue.
While there have been many attempts to curb the rise of alcohol abuse in the military, it is still a growing issue. It is essential to receive treatment at a recovery center for trauma as soon as possible so that an addiction to alcohol can be prevented.
Tricare Insurance Accepted
Dr. Paul's By The Sea is In-Network with Tricare. We proudly work with active duty service members, retirees, veterans, and their adult and adolescent beneficiaries.
Our Treatment Center provides mental health and addiction treatment for service members and their families in the Jacksonville, FL area.
Causes of PTSD and Addiction
PTSD is caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. A person does not need to experience combat to have PTSD, although it was first recognized after WWI as shell shock or combat fatigue. While it is normal for the mind and body to experience shock after a traumatic event, if the symptoms begin to worsen over time then a disorder could develop.
Someone who has struggled with substance abuse due to PTSD can find it extremely difficult to quit. Withdrawal can be a dangerous and painful experience; alcohol withdrawal is an especially high risk without help. Due to the difficulty and dangers of withdrawal, many people will turn back to substance abuse as a way to avoid it.
An endorphin withdrawal can also be a reason for the use of drugs and alcohol in dealing with PTSD. When the brain encounters a traumatic event, it will release endorphins; these neurotransmitters will create a sense of euphoria or safety to reduce panic. After the event is over, then the endorphins leave the body, causing withdrawal. To prevent this from taking place, those with PTSD will drink or take drugs to trick the brain into releasing more endorphins.
Symptoms of PTSD
The Symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Recurring reminders of the event that intrude at random times and cannot be controlled. Often these reminders will come in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, or painful thoughts. Triggers that induce reminders of the event can cause physical and emotional reactions such as panic attacks, high blood pressure, shaking, and increased heart rate.
- Avoiding things that would trigger intrusive thoughts or panic attacks. These can include ideas, places, people, situations, etc. Often people with PTSD will completely withdraw from the outside world, including friends and family members.
- Irrational or negative thoughts can develop or increase, as well as feelings of guilt or shame. A person with PTSD would have difficulty feeling any positive emotion.
- Always being on guard or expecting the worst. Feeling unsettled or react emotionally, as indicated by unusual anger or behavior. Having difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
Risks of PTSD & Addiction
There are many risk factors if PTSD and substance abuse are left untreated. Someone who has PTSD is more likely to engage in risky behaviors; these can include physical and sexual. PTSD and addiction can lead to health problems, broken relationships with family and friends, difficulty in keeping a job, insomnia, and inability to be social.
Studies have shown that veterans and active military personnel are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism or drug addiction. This is because military members who are treated for PTSD are given opiate prescriptions. Not only this, but they are also given higher doses at a much more frequent rate. Due to this, the fatality rate because of overdoses in the military has risen.
At Dr. Paul's By The Sea, we support the military community in Jacksonville, Fl, by providing a rehabilitation facility for treatment in PTSD and addiction. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of PTSD and are struggling with substance abuse, call Dr. Paul's By The Sea.
Our team and medical staff in St. Augustine are ready to help you overcome your struggle with trauma. We can teach you healthy coping strategies that will keep you from turning to substance abuse. In doing so, you will learn how to live a better, more fulfilled life.