There are a number of conditions or issues that are often linked with addiction and contribute to its formation, and one of the most common and well-known examples here is PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s not uncommon for people dealing with PTSD to turn to drugs or alcohol for help with coping when other measures don’t do the trick, but this can sometimes lead to issues of addiction that actually worsen the entire situation.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re here to offer caring, compassionate alcohol rehab, drug rehab and other forms of addiction treatment for Boise and other nearby areas. We’re experienced in helping patients manage their PTSD or other mental conditions that may be contributing to addiction in some way, and we also offer advice and expertise to friends or family members looking to provide support. Here are some basics on how friends and family (or caregivers, in our case) can help those who deal with PTSD as a major part of their addiction.
Knowing the Signs of PTSD
Firstly, simply knowing the signs and symptoms of PTSD can be immensely helpful, both for identifying it in the first place and for providing support to someone who deals with it. These signs can include any of the following:
- Reactive symptoms: Some of the most common reactive symptoms of PTSD include intense, sudden emotional reactions or outbursts, difficulty functioning in everyday settings and frequent nightmares. These are often triggered by certain events or ideas that remind someone of their traumatic experiences.
- Avoidance symptoms: On the flip side, some people with PTSD may deal with avoidance symptoms, such as deliberately avoiding certain places or activities that are related to their trauma in some way, feelings of emotional numbing and difficulty forming relationships.
- Cognition or mood symptoms: For some, the cognitive or mood symptoms associated with PTSD may be most prominent. These can include difficulty sleeping, feeling a sense of detachment from others, emotional responses such as irritability or anxiety and negative thoughts about oneself.
- Re-experiencing of traumatic events: Finally, one of the toughest symptoms to deal with can be the re-experiencing of traumatic events, which may include flashbacks or nightmares that bring back vivid details and emotions from the original experience.
Knowing these signs can be important for being able to identify PTSD in someone, particularly if they are reluctant to talk about it themselves. Additionally, understanding what someone is going through can also help in providing the best possible support.
Making Connections to Addiction and Triggers
While you should never make assumptions as the friend or loved one of someone dealing with PTSD and addiction, being aware of potential connections between their past experience and current behaviors can be very helpful. This could mean noticing if certain activities trigger them in any way or noting the specific substances they are using most often.
In addition to this, making an effort to check in with your loved one regularly and help them manage their triggers can be beneficial, as this can help them to understand and process their experiences better. This could involve deep conversations about what happened or simply offering a safe and non-judgmental space in which they feel comfortable talking.
Providing support without judgement is important for anyone dealing with addiction, and particularly for those with PTSD. Everyone is different, and it’s important to remember that no two people will have the same experience or responses to trauma. As such, trying to understand each individual’s story and working with them rather than against them can be very helpful in providing support.
It’s also important to know when you need help yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the situation, don’t be afraid to reach out for external support. There are always people available who can provide advice and guidance when needed.
For many people with PTSD, social situations are the most troublesome for them, as they can be a reminder of the traumatic events in their past or may contain triggers. A good way to provide support here is by simply being present and offering understanding when needed. This could mean providing helpful resources or just listening without judgement.
In addition to this, encouraging healthy activities and hobbies that are enjoyable for both parties can also be beneficial, such as going to the movies or playing a sport together. This can help them stay connected with the world around them and build their own self-confidence at the same time.
Ultimately, providing support for someone dealing with PTSD and addiction is no easy task, but it is possible. By recognizing signs of trauma, being patient and understanding, and taking steps to offer help without judgement, it is possible to make a difference in the lives of those suffering.
Please note that this writing is not intended as legal or medical advice and should not be taken as such. It is offered here solely for educational purposes. If you are dealing with addiction or PTSD, please seek professional assistance from licensed professionals.
For more on any of our addiction recovery programs in Boise or other areas, speak to our team at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.