Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Any event that is physically or psychologically traumatic can cause PTSD.

Military combat. Natural disasters. Abuse in childhood. Sexual assault. Violent assault. Road accidents. Terrorist attacks. Unexpected death of a loved one. Undergoing any of these events can understandably cause extreme stress. However, for many who face these and other life-changing traumatic experiences, the stress extends far beyond the end of the event itself. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition in which a person who experiences a physical or psychological trauma continues to experience nightmares or flashbacks, as well as continued feelings of loss of control, guilt, or isolation. For many, this long-term anxiety leads them to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, which can often lead to an addiction that further compounds the original anxiety disorder.

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Frequently Asked Questions About PTSD

Any event that is physically or psychologically traumatic can cause PTSD. Natural disasters, military combat, abuse in childhood, violent or sexual assault, road accidents, and terrorist attacks are just some of the common causes. It is unclear why some people develop PTSD after a traumatic experience while others do not, but it is certainly not a reflection of one’s character, intelligence, or strength. PTSD can develop immediately after a life-altering experience or may lie dormant for several weeks, months, or longer.

PTSD symptoms vary from person to person and can pop up at any time. Possible symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks or a sense of reliving the initial event
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Avoiding experiences that may remind one of the traumatic event
  • Using alcohol or drugs to avoid memories or emotions related to the event

Complex PTSD refers to the ongoing anxiety that results from traumatic events that happened at an early age, were caused by a parent or caregiver, or were ongoing or frequently repeated. Sufferers of complex PTSD can be adults or children, and symptoms include:

  • Traditional symptoms of PTSD
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Difficulty concentrating or controlling one’s emotions
  • Self isolation
  • Headaches, chest pains, stomach aches, dizziness
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies

Although substance abuse may follow after PTSD, professionals see more successful recoveries when both are treated simultaneously. Dual diagnosis provides licensed therapists an opportunity to assess, recognize, and treat PTSD and substance abuse (or a behavioral disorder) at the same time.

A variety of therapies have proven beneficial for addicts suffering from PTSD. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are two types of talking therapies that can be helpful in treating both PTSD and addiction. A well-rounded treatment plan may also include experiential, holistic, and group therapies.

How Hawaii Island Recovery Can Help You Recover from PTSD

Hawaii Island Recovery offers men and women an opportunity to recover from PTSD and substance abuse or behavioral disorders simultaneously while living on the beautiful island of Hawaii. Our multi-disciplinary, integrative treatment approach allows for assessment, dual diagnosis, evidence-based therapies, and experiential and holistic therapies. All treatment plans are designed and administered by licensed therapists. Our holistic approach guides residents towards healing of the body, mind, and spirit.

To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one recover from PTSD and addiction,

Call Us Today: 866-390-5070