Alcohol and PTSD

Trauma, stress, and feelings of panic can be very difficult to digest and live through. It’s found that those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a combination of all, without the presence of professional support do in fact struggle.

Struggling will usually amount to the use of ineffective coping mechanisms, which is where alcohol abuse falls.

It’s understandable that without direction while living through the symptoms of PTSD, that alcohol consumption will feel like a desirable form of relief.

However, those who see such desirability are at greater risk of developing an alcohol addiction, identified as a dual diagnosis for many individuals.

The relationship between alcohol and PTSD is also deeper, down to the trauma and emotional instability that independent alcohol consumption can have, also increasing the risk of mental health issues, such as PTSD.

While trauma will usually need to be present, to trigger such symptoms, this is a commonality, again amounting to dual diagnosis.

Are you struggling with symptoms of PTSD, where alcohol is found to suppress them for you? Have you been abusing alcohol for some time, which has resulted in trauma and the side effects of PTSD? Down to such prevalence, here at Asana Lodge, we’re here to offer specialist support and treatment.

Understand, recover from, and manage both problems with alcohol and PTSD through our offering of dual diagnosis treatment.

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Are you suffering from alcohol addiction and PTSD and need help? If so, Asana Lodge is a leading UK based expert in Dual Diagnosis Treatment. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with our friendly team today. You can either call our confidential helpline or request a callback by clicking on the below form.

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Alcohol as a trigger of PTSD

Experiencing PTSD will usually be triggered by significant trauma and/or stress. Those who experience symptoms of PTSD can attach some degree of accident, distressing moment, unforeseeable situation, or a traumatic episode as the catalyst for such feelings.

While to most individuals, alcohol will not induce such trauma, for a proportion, it can, where somewhere an experience of trauma has been encountered.

For example, while under the influence of excessive alcohol, an accident may occur, which with impact, can result in a degree of PTSD symptoms.

Alcoholism will not always result in mental health disorders and emotional conditions. However, through existing vulnerabilities, linked to alcohol addiction, risks are higher, down to distorted outlooks, weakened cognitive functioning and stability.

Problems with alcohol and PTSD symptoms are an experienced dual diagnosis, where addiction stands as the primary influencer. In the event of such emotional turmoil, from alcohol exposure, mental health support will be necessary, in tandem with psychological treatment services.

PTSD and Alcohol

Heighten symptoms of PTSD through alcohol abuse

Alcohol, alongside drugs, is one of the most favoured coping mechanisms throughout mental health problems. As PTSD can become extremely challenging to live with, especially without a diagnosis and subsequent medication/treatment, alcohol consumption is the route that many will instead opt for.

As a substance, alcohol is a sedative, which therefore helps to promote relaxation and balance within the central nervous system. Such feelings can become extremely addictive, especially if they curb the challenges and symptoms of PTSD.

This is how addiction materialises, as the substance of choice, this being alcohol, has a role to play. While intentions to become addicted to alcohol will of course be insignificant, experiencing such effects will be intended.

Through symptoms of PTSD, alcohol will therefore be used, which will offer short-term respite. However, once withdrawal begins, the rebound effect is known to occur which heightens the presence of PTSD. Sadly, such an effect makes users reach for greater levels of alcohol to cope, strengthening addiction probabilities.

Problems with alcohol and PTSD are therefore two conditions that should be separated if possible. However, in the event of a dual diagnosis, which can easily develop where vulnerabilities are present, treatment will be necessary.


Spotting the symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder reflects common symptoms of anxiety and panic, down to the position that the mind is placed within while exposed to a trigger. However, there are also some common symptoms that are mainly experienced by individuals with PTSD, differentiating it and making it easier to diagnose.

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Nightmares and night terrors
  • Vivid flashbacks
  • Extreme panic
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disorders
  • Heart palpitations
  • Re-occurring stress
  • Difficulties embracing everyday life
  • Worries about future trauma
  • Compulsive behaviours

Symptoms of PTSD

It’s clear to see how alcohol can support PTSD on an initial basis, down to the effects it has. Yet, on a long-term basis, it’s also evident to see how detrimental both alcohol and PTSD problems can be while entwined.


Treating alcohol and PTSD symptoms

Through problems with alcohol and PTSD symptoms, treatment will be necessary to combat both conditions.

As alcoholism is an addiction, a full rehabilitation process will need to be completed, where individuals detox, work through their emotional responses, consider their lifestyle and also work to strengthen relapse prevention.

As PTSD is a mental health condition, psychological treatment will be a must, including cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, and potentially the recommended prescription medications.

While medication can relieve the anxiety-related symptoms of PTSD, it can however be challenging to back such recommendation if pre-existing experiences of addiction have occurred.

Treatment for both alcoholism and PTSD will need to run alongside each other. Yet it is important to understand that varying programmes will be required to treat both, as while they share similarities, they are also different conditions.

The approach of dual diagnosis treatment

At Asana Lodge, we approach such problems with dual diagnosis treatment. As both conditions are co-occurring, meaning that they affect one another, it’s vital that treatment focuses on both, in tandem.

Yet, it’s also vital that quality, targeted and suitable bouts of treatment are offered to our clients, to ensure that complex primary conditions can also be worked through.

By selecting treatment here, you will experience two separate programmes of recovery, yet both with similar goals, similar steppingstones, and similar treatment recommendations.

Psychologically driven treatments will be encouraged for both problems with alcohol and PTSD. Yet each will have its own mixture to promote restoration, recovery, and relapse prevention.

Treatment is imperative when experiencing conditions such as PTSD and alcoholism. While lone coping may feel best, convenient, or comfortable, combined together, symptoms of both conditions will be difficult to manage for the long term.

Turn to Asana Lodge to detach the relationship between alcohol and PTSD.

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