Do you sometimes feel stuck in a state of panic or relive painful memories while going through addiction recovery? Have you tried without success to feel safe again and move on? If memories of past traumatic events continue to pull you down, consider having a mental health professional assess you for a PTSD diagnosis. Ignoring these feelings may lead to backslides in addiction recovery.
Why Some People Are Reluctant to Seek Trauma Treatment During Recovery
If you have gone through traumatic experiences, you may avoid talking about them. Perhaps you have struggled silently with PTSD symptoms and live in fear of losing control if triggered. This can be draining and nerve-wracking during addiction recovery, but you may not feel ready to address it. PTSD and substance addiction can and should be treated simultaneously.
Trauma is a complex human experience. Many people may not realize that their mental health problems are part of PTSD. You might not be able to connect the dots that spell out a normal life after a particularly life-changing or traumatic event.
The fear that others may judge or pity you is also a real barrier to treatment. Maybe you are still experiencing ongoing trauma, such as domestic violence or bullying. No matter your reasons for avoiding PTSD treatment in recovery know there are ways to get treatment so that neither trauma nor addiction has a hold on your life anymore.
Common Symptoms of PTSD in Recovery
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder people may develop after experiencing adverse or traumatic events. Such events may include violence, abuse, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters. These incidents trigger fear in the neurological system, which gets stuck in “fight-or-flight” mode.
Many people who experience traumatic events naturally recover from shock and fear. However, some people’s emotional states can be changed forever. For example, if you are diagnosed with PTSD, you may re-experience symptoms of fear, stress, or depression. These can appear in several ways, including flashbacks, bad dreams, or re-occurring frightening thoughts.
With long-term PTSD, you may also avoid places or objects that remind you of the traumatic experience. You may struggle with angry outbursts and other cognitive and mood disorders. Prolonged and untreated PTSD can shape your thoughts about yourself or the world to harmful extremes.
What Does PTSD Look Like?
When you begin addiction treatment, health professionals work with you to find the root causes of your addiction. Perhaps you use substances to escape from the past and cope with emotional pain. Alternatively, maybe substance use is your way of overcoming a sense of low self-worth stemming from past trauma.
Mental health professionals will patiently help you uncover the correlation between your addiction and trauma. If you suffer from addiction and PTSD, you need a higher level of care, known as dual diagnosis.
Trauma Treatment During Recovery
The most common psychotherapy for PTSD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which uses a one-on-one format with a trained therapist. Through six to 12 weekly sessions, a professional therapist will help you identify negative thought patterns that you may trace back to past trauma. Then, using coaching and homework assignments, you can learn how to disengage from these past experiences to move forward emotionally.
Because stress management is a priority in maintaining sobriety, treating PTSD is just as crucial as other addiction treatment processes. This may occur through individual counseling, family therapy, and 12-Step group meetings. As a result, you will have ample opportunities to heal from past trauma and use relaxation and anger-management skills to heal your body and mind from PTSD and addiction.
Breaking Free From PTSD During Recovery
Understanding how PTSD affects brain health is crucial. Because trauma is so complex, there is no single treatment method. Be patient when working with health professionals. Talk openly and honestly with your care team about treatment options. The better you communicate your needs, the more able they will come up with the best, most personalized treatment plan for you.
While recovering from addiction and PTSD, you must learn effective stress management skills. Identify triggers that may increase your stress and develop coping strategies for them. At the same time, practice self-compassion and do not set harsh rules for yourself, as these can only increase stress.
It is essential to understand the different stages of addiction recovery. Design motivation techniques for yourself and celebrate when you reach a milestone. In addition to avoiding triggers, surround yourself with a strong support system, including health professionals, 12-Step group sponsors, peers, supportive family members, and friends who understand what you have been through.
PTSD and addiction may become co-occurring conditions that deserve a high level of medical attention. During treatment for PTSD and addiction recovery, become familiar with ways to distract yourself when you feel stuck in negative thoughts or unhealthy behaviors. Find some self-soothing and sober activities. Seek out family and friends you trust to get support.
Do you know that many people experience PTSD and addiction but fail to treat them simultaneously? If you suffer from both conditions, you need in-depth medical attention. One key way you can recover from PTSD is through educating yourself about its signs and symptoms and the various options for treatment. The more you know about PTSD, the more you can advocate for your proper treatment. Similarly, you can develop encouraging behaviors and habits to promote healing and mental health awareness. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you understand the science behind recovery. We practice compassion, professionalism, and individualization to support your ongoing recovery. Call us today at (866) 774-1532 to begin a journey of healing.