It is common for individuals experiencing PTSD to suppress their experiences, and one of the most common means of suppression is through drugs or alcohol.
As we all have heard via news sources, PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become a major mental health issue. It has been primarily associated with our veterans and the effects of their combat experiences. And this is legitimate. But if we take trauma as a whole, it applies to a number of causes – for example, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, loss of loved ones, and financial loss to name a few. And the rise in drug and alcohol abuse and addiction coincidentally presents real problems for those in the treatment industry.
I think that the screening process for those seeking treatment must be more intensive and specific. The likelihood of a dual diagnosis presents different problems for the trauma treatment as well as the drug addiction treatment.
It is therefore of utmost importance that mental health professionals become more involved in the process. An in-depth search for the source of the trauma is essential in establishing trauma treatment. It is common for individuals experiencing PTSD to suppress their experiences, and one of the most common means of suppression is through drugs or alcohol. And as we know, substance use and abuse are short term remedies and lead to further depression and anxiety. Self-medicating is not the answer.
After a thorough screening and a dual diagnosis is established, the mental health team and treatment team must work together to establish the proper program. The mental health treatment plan may precede the drug and/or alcohol treatment program or both may proceed simultaneously.
Trauma or PTSD treatment or therapy should identify the “triggers” leading to “use” and how to avoid them. Group sessions for trauma treatment with people experiencing similar causative factors are essential. Family involvement is also extremely important. Post- treatment programs must be in place, such as 12 step programs or more extensive mental health treatment. Medication therapy may also be called for such anti-addiction drugs, anti-depressants, or anti-anxiety meds.
The treatment team must have experience in establishing the dual diagnosis. Treating the drug or alcohol addiction as well as the trauma or PTSD diagnosis will be very complex. Deep seated repressed trauma and the resulting drug and/or alcohol addiction present a very tenuous path for recovery. But with the proper caring, in-depth treatment program, success can be achieved.
Just think back a few years when treatment of drug or alcohol addiction was known as taking the “cure”. A sure plan for success, right? And those Veterans returning from conflict were treated for “shell shock”. Another “cure”. Thank goodness things have improved. But there is still much to be done and more improvements will be forthcoming.
Call us 24/7 at 1-888-735-3832 for more information or contact us here. We also offer a quick, convenient and confidential health insurance verification form for those with private PPO medical insurance plans…