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PTSD & Drug Abuse: 6 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Find out the symptoms of PTSD, what to watch for, and how to encourage drug addiction rehab.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition sometimes developed by people who have seen or lived through a traumatic event.

It is normal and healthy to experience fear, as well as other emotions, during and after a traumatic experience. The physical and emotional responses of the body to dangerous situations are a means of protection. For some individuals, however, these natural reactions to danger may not dissipate entirely after the event and they may continue to experience ongoing symptoms which may be diagnosed as short-term or ongoing PTSD.

The symptoms of PTSD can disrupt and negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Often people struggling with PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and may result in substance abuse and a need for drug addiction rehab.

There are four different types of PTSD symptoms:

Re-living, avoidance, arousal and reactivity, and cognition and mood symptoms.

Re-living symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks in which the traumatic experience is repeatedly relived both mentally and physically–often resulting in a pounding heart and sweating
  • Nightmares
  • Frightening thoughts

Avoidance symptoms may include:

  • Avoiding anything that is a reminder of the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotional numbness
  • Experiencing guilt, depression, or anxiety
  • Losing interest past hobbies or activities
  • Difficulty remembering the traumatic event

Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:

  • Being easily startled or surprised
  • Feeling tense or edgy
  • Experiencing difficulty sleeping
  • Experiencing fits or bursts of anger

Cognition and mood symptoms may include:

  • Having trouble remembering important features of the event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings such as blame or guilt
  • Experiencing loss of interest in activities previously found enjoyable

These symptoms can occur at any time during the day, interrupting daily life and making basic functioning difficult. Experiencing a traumatic event one time is terrible, but to relive the event over and over again can be unbearable. The discomfort and fear caused by these symptoms can contribute to PTSD drug abuse.

If you have a friend with PTSD or who exhibits the symptoms of PTSD, then they may be at an increased risk of developing a substance abuse disorder and need drug addiction rehab.

Signs of PTSD Drug Abuse

If your friend has PTSD and you are concerned that PTSD related drug abuse may also be at play, then there are several signs and symptoms to be aware of.

Signs of drug abuse include:

  1. Neglecting or ceasing participation in activities that were once important
  2. Taking unusual risks, usually to obtain drugs
  3. Acting out or pushing away closest relationships
  4. Being secretive about activities or unexplained injuries and accidents
  5. Changing appearance or lack of hygiene
  6. Exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal, such as: anxiety, jumpiness, shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, depression, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, or headaches

If you have noticed any of these symptoms in a loved one, especially someone suffering from PTSD, then pursuing help for your friend is the most important step you can take. For more information about the symptoms of PTSD drug abuse, interventions, or drug addiction rehab options, contact Recovery Centers of America to speak to one of our 24/7 care consultants. Call 1-800-RECOVERY today.

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