Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition where a person experiences a high degree of anxiety after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. The trauma can be either physical or psychological. Military veterans, victims of crime, survivors of natural disaster or first responders are especially at risk.
A person with PTSD typically experiences flashbacks to the event or trauma that left him or her feeling powerless. Nightmares are also common for people living with this condition. The condition leaves people with unresolved feelings, such as anger, fear, helplessness, guilt, a desire for revenge, etc. They may have angry outbursts or experience severe anxiety when they see, hear or experience anything that triggers a memory of their trauma.
Alcohol Use As A Way To Self-Medicate
The link between PTSD and alcohol problems occurs when those with PTSD start drinking as a way to self-medicate. If they find that having a drink or two takes the edge off their symptoms and makes them feel a bit calmer, then they may start drinking more as tolerance builds.
Since the effects brought on by the alcohol are only temporary, the experience needs to be repeated if the person with PTSD is going to experience symptom relief again. The more often alcohol is used, the more likely someone is to start building up a resistance to its effects.
Repeated or heavy alcohol use can actually have a boomerang effect and end up making someone feel worse than before they started drinking. Instead of helping to curb anxiety or angry feelings that someone with PTSD is experiencing, it can make them worse.
Learn The Warning Signs Of Alcohol Problems
If a loved one is living with PTSD and you know they are drinking, be alert for warning signs of alcohol abuse.
- Increasing alcohol consumption
- Drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms
- Lying about the amount he or she is drinking
- Neglecting responsibilities at work or at home in order to drink
What To Do If Someone You Love Struggles With PTSD And Alcohol Abuse
What do you do if you find you are recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse or alcoholism in a loved one? Encourage them to seek treatment for both the alcohol use as well as the PTSD.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program
At The Dunes East Hampton, our staff has experience treating individuals who come to us with a dual diagnosis (a mental health concern and an addiction). We offer effective and supportive therapy at our luxury treatment facility.