The Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction
Learn the connection between personality disorders and PTSD. If you have both BPD and PTSD, it's important to understand other conditions. Although the relation between posttraumatic stress disorder and . who had PTSD were less likely to develop other inflammation-related. Association. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACUTE STRESS DISORDER AND PTSD. The relation.
Because this is a complicated disorder, clinicians diagnosing it need to understand the symptom profile of the disorder and the complete presentation and history of the person who is being considered for the diagnosis.
There are no formal medical tests, such as laboratory tests or neuroimaging scans, that can diagnose PTSD. Instead, clinicians must evaluate the person based on their behaviors. The information used to diagnose a person is often gleaned from the person themselves and individuals close to the person. Because the diagnostic process for psychiatric disorders requires understanding the intricacies of human behavior, significant training and supervision are required for clinicians to be able to accurately diagnose these conditions.
According to the current diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — Fifth Edition DSM-5 released by APA, the general presentation of PTSD includes the following types of symptoms These are not the specific diagnostic criteria but represent signs and symptoms based on the formal diagnostic criteria.
Exposure to a potentially fatal situation, serious injury, or sexual violence, either by directly being involved in the event, witnessing the event as it occurs to others, learning that the event has happened to someone close, or being repeatedly exposed to the details of traumatic events, such as medical personnel, police officers, firefighters, etc.
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This is the only required sign; other signs may or may not be present but a person must express a specific number of them. Experiencing significant anxiety when one is reminded of details of the event Having repeated recollections or lucid reexperiences of the event, such as nightmares, intrusive thoughts, actual flashbacks, etc.
Feeling isolated and detached from other people Feeling as if things are not real being detached from reality Repeated attempts to avoid things that remind the person of the traumatic event Constantly lacking motivation Being unable to experience pleasure in situations that once brought pleasure Experiencing significant mood swings Continually experiencing negative emotions, such as irritability, restlessness, anxiety, depression, etc.
Continued efforts to isolate oneself from contact with others Feeling suicidal or engaging in self-harm, such as cutting oneself Engaging in other self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, numerous instances of unprotected sex, etc. The formal diagnosis of PTSD in children under the age of 6 is based on alterations of the formal diagnostic criteria that are age-appropriate. The symptoms that the individual expresses must not be better explained by some other medical condition, a substance abuse, or some other mental health disorder.
Individuals need to display several symptoms from different categories in order to receive a formal diagnosis, and the symptoms must have been present for more than one month. Individuals presenting with similar symptoms that have not been present for at least one month are diagnosed with acute stress disorder, which may or may not develop into a formal PTSD diagnosis.
The diagnosis can be made in situations where the symptoms do not occur for six months or longer after the exposure to the event termed PTSD with delayed expression. While it appears that the specific type of traumatic event one experiences is not a justifiable criterion to diagnose specific subtypes of PTSD based on the symptom profile e. Again, it should be noted that most individuals have these experiences from time to time.
The diagnosis of a formal disorder requires these experiences to be relatively frequent to the point of being almost constant and fixed. The obvious answer to this question is that individuals who witness, learn of, or experience traumatic events may develop PTSD. However, the vast majority of individuals with these experiences do not develop the disorder. Thus, while some type of exposure to a potentially traumatic or stressful event must be present before one can be considered for a diagnosis of PTSD, simply having this exposure is not sufficient for the diagnosis to be made.
As it turns out, there are no foolproof methods to predict which individuals experiencing these types of traumatic events will actually develop PTSD. However, research has identified a number of risk factors associated with individuals who develop the disorder.
The Relationship Between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction
It should be understood that a risk factor does not represent a specific or direct cause, but instead represents a condition that increases the probability that one will develop a disease or disorder. Having numerous risk factors will increase the probability further. Research has indicated that there are some significant risk factors associated with the development of PTSD.
These are outlined below. Obviously, an individual who is employed in certain types of professions has an increased risk of being exposed to stressful and traumatic events and therefore would have an increased risk of developing PTSD. This certainly includes those in the military.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA
Other types of high-risk professions include healthcare workers who are first responders to crimes or natural disasters, firefighters, police officers, hospital workers, etc. Even though women are at higher risk to develop PTSD than menthis is most likely related to the fact that women are victims of serious crimes, such as rape and assault, more often than men.
Individuals with lower levels of education appear to be diagnosed more often with PTSD than individuals with higher levels of education. The particular type of traumatic event is also associated with the development of PTSD. For instance, PTSD is more often diagnosed in rape victims and individuals who have direct combat experience in the military than in individuals who experience automobile accidents or other types of potentially stressful events.
The Relationship Between PTSD And Addiction
In addition, the subjective perception of the severity of the threat one experiences is associated with a greater risk to develop PTSD. Having a previous diagnosis of a mental health disorder or having a first-degree relative with such a diagnosis also appears to be associated with a higher risk to develop PTSD.
This includes having a previous diagnosis of a substance use disorder. According to APA, having a history of childhood adversity, such as abuse or parental divorce, may also be associated with an increased risk to develop PTSD. Substance Use Disorders and PTSD There is a large body of research indicating that people who are diagnosed with PTSD are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with a co-occurring substance use disorder than individuals in the general population.
A number of sources, including APA, suggest that up to 20 percent of people who seek treatment for PTSD also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Research has also suggested that individuals with PTSD who express certain types of symptoms, including flashbacks and other very intense reexperiences of trauma e. Any type of substance of abuse can be associated with a diagnosis of PTSD, but it appears that the drugs that are most often abused in individuals with PTSD are alcohol, central nervous system depressant drugs e.
Individuals with PTSD are also very likely to abuse multiple drugs. At this point, readers may have concluded that individuals with PTSD use substances to self-medicate their symptoms. Criterion F refers to these symptoms lasting more than 1 month.
Criterion G notes that these symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Criterion H highlights that these disturbances are not due to the effects of a substance or another medical condition. In other words, the PTSD symptoms arise independently from any physiological effects of using drugs, alcohol, or medication.
The key is the perception of helplessness in the face of trauma and prior history of trauma for example, child abuse. The greater the helplessness, the more likely we are to become trapped in our hyper-arousal cycle and later develop posttraumatic symptoms. We are never fully at rest, always vigilant and may have distorted perceptions of threat. An analogy might be to keep your foot on the gas pedal without letting up. Sooner or later the engine will begin to burn out. A sizeable portion also go on to develop an addiction.
The Role of Addiction in PTSD Chemical dependency is often described as an attempt at self-regulation, not so terribly different from self-injury other types of trauma-related impulsive behavior. From this perspective, we come to see that addiction is a result of an attempt to ward off the intrusive memories, smooth out hypervigilance, and disconnect from anxiety.
When alcohol or drugs are used to manage PTSD symptoms, the symptoms of the disorder only become more severe. As a central nervous system depressantalcohol and opiates can worsen depression and anxiety and interfere with normal sleep patterns.
We might mistakenly believe that treating the trauma will stop the alcohol and drug abuse. However, addiction may continue to persist given that the substance has hijacked our reward systemcausing us to develop enduring tolerance need more of the substance to get the same effect and withdrawal physical consequences and discomfort when substance use stops symptoms.
Similarly, trauma issues should always be addressed concurrently in addiction recovery, given that the presence of trauma symptoms makes substance abuse much more likely. Successful recovery requires clients to understand how the addictive substances have helped them survive: We need to know this because the trauma symptoms will increase when we enter sobriety, and we will need coping strategies to manage the triggers of PTSD when they appear. Relapse prevention plans must create strategies to manage both addiction and PTSD symptoms and triggers.
Psychoactive medicationif necessary, to address hyperarousal. Mindfulness and distress tolerance skills to address arousal and disconnection from the self.