PTSD & Addiction

Substance abuse is extremely common among individuals who have experienced a traumatic event.

Most often, this occurs as a result of patients self-medicating in order to alleviate symptoms associated with PTSD, including depression, anxiety and panic. To accommodate the needs of these patients, many rehabilitation facilities offer various treatments and therapies that can treat both post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Do I Have PTSD?I Need Help


of those who suffer from PTSD also abuse alcohol

Dependency on nicotine is nearly twice as common in people with PTSD

People with PTSD are 3x more likely to abuse drugs than people without PTSD

“Just Get Over It!”

Have you ever had someone tell you to just get on with your life after you have experienced a traumatizing event?

Do you feel distant from others and have “out of body” flashbacks of your trauma? Does it feel impossible to ever get over the sudden death of your loved one, the sexual assault, or the war experience? You may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, a common and debilitating mental illness.

When we experience something traumatic or life threatening, it is normal for our bodies to activate our “fight for flight” response to deal with the overwhelming situation. This is a healthy response to protect our bodies. We may for a time feel sad, upset, or frightened. But after a period of time, the pain diminishes, and our lives return to normal.

When Your Life Unravels

When you suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, the “fight for flight” response becomes badly damaged.

Instead of the body and mind returning to a normal state after a terrifying event, the mind goes on overload, and PTSD symptoms start to develop.

If this has happened to you, you may find that the trauma you experienced is nearly impossible to get over on your own. You may feel a range of overwhelming emotions such as unexplained anger, depression, anxiety, and irritability. You may feel extremely tired, hyper-aroused, or have trouble digesting your food.

Sometimes it is difficult for you to understand that the symptoms you are experiencing are actually posttraumatic stress disorder because the trauma may have been experienced years ago, even in your childhood, and it is almost impossible for you to identify exactly what is causing your life to unravel.

You Are Not Alone

It is important to realize that anyone can suffer from PTSD, and roughly 8% of all Americans (that’s up to 7 million people!) will have PTSD during their lifetime.

You are not alone in suffering from PTSD, and it is not a sign of mental weakness to have PTSD. There are many factors that cause PTSD to develop (such as personality traits you were born with and how your brain responds to stress). Many people don’t understand how complex PTSD is and wonder can PTSD cause addiction?

If you find yourself suffering from these three cluster symptoms for over one month, please seek professional help.

  • Recreating the traumatic event over and over through flashbacks or nightmares.
  • Avoiding people, places, or activities that trigger memories of the event.
  • Hyper-vigilance and attentiveness all the time for danger.

The PTSD Alliance is here for you, and our member organizations offer many helpful resources to overcome PTSD and substance problems. Whether you are a child or parent, man or woman, veteran or civilian, there is help for you. Please don’t suffer from PTSD alone. You can heal and go on to lead a healthy life.