Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term that we often hear associated with military or police officers. After World Wars I and II, “shell shock” and “combat fatigue” were used to describe the signs associated with PTSD before it was diagnosed as such. However, PTSD is not limited to combat veterans. It is a condition that can affect anyone who has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Millions of Americans have PTSD, and that number does not include undiagnosed cases or children with PTSD. Many times, living with undiagnosed PTSD can lead to self-medicating with substances like drugs or alcohol. This greatly increases the risk of developing a substance use disorder or addiction.
At Oceanfront Recovery, PTSD is just one of the many mental health disorders we can help you address at our mental health treatment center in Laguna Beach, CA. Seeking help from our PTSD treatment program is the first step to living a life free of addiction.
What is PTSD?
Most everyone knows what it feels like to be frightened. Your body reacts, activating the “fight or flight” reaction in your nervous system. Your brain uses this reaction to make the split-second decision to defend against the perceived danger or to find a way to avoid it. This is a completely natural, biological reaction to a traumatic situation. While it may take some time to get over the experience, most people can recover from those initial symptoms of fear.
Some people cannot get back to the way they were before the event, and those are the people with PTSD. A psychiatric disorder, PTSD causes those who suffer from it to feel anxious or frightened, even when there is no danger. It could be the result of experiencing or witnessing a violent crime, serious accident, natural disaster, combat incidents, or acts of terrorism, among others. Such trauma can lead to drug and alcohol abuse requiring a wholesome addiction treatment program in California.
Symptoms of PTSD
People who have PTSD share a variety of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Symptoms fall into four categories, including:
- Re-experiencing – This typically includes persistent, intrusive thoughts, involuntary memories, disturbing dreams, or flashbacks of the event. In some cases, the memories may be so vivid that you may feel as if you’re reliving the trauma.
- Avoidance – This includes avoiding all reminders of the event, including the anniversary of the trauma, people, places, or things you associate with the event. You may also force yourself not to think about or remember the trauma and refuse to talk about it.
- Cognition and mood – Having negative thoughts and feelings ranging from paranoia to fear or horror and anger to guilt to sadness and shame. Your mood changes and you may detach yourself from things you used to enjoy and feel detached or alienated from your friends and family.
- Arousal and reactivity – This means that you are in a constant state of fight or flight – you are jumpy, easily startled, and hyper-aware, and it may cause you to have trouble functioning normally. You may feel irritable or quick to anger and engage in reckless or self-destructive activities.
After exposure to a traumatic event, many people experience the above symptoms in the days and weeks after the ordeal. However, if the symptoms continue for more than a month, you may have PTSD. In some people, PTSD symptoms develop within about three months of the incident, but they may appear later for some. PTSD appears twice as often in women as men and can lead to related issues, including substance abuse, mental health disorders, and other problems functioning.
Learn More by Reaching Out to Oceanfront Recovery Today
When you seek help for post-traumatic stress disorder, Oceanfront Recovery professionals help you through each of your symptoms. Our PTSD treatment program aims to break the cycle of substance use. After a diagnosis is established, your addiction treatment plan is individualized to include various therapies to meet your specific needs and goals. Some of the therapies we offer include: