Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition in which an individual experiences intense stress or anxiety after witnessing or being engaged in a traumatic event. Any psychological, physical, or sexual trauma that leaves the individual feeling powerless and out of control may lead to PTSD. PTSD can cause intense anxiety, intrusive memories, and flashbacks that often interfere with daily life and lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. At Serenity Now, CMHC, we offer our clients PTSD treatment to help them heal and recover.
PTSD and Addiction
The subjective nature of trauma means that some people remain marginally affected by an extremely stressful experience while others are overwhelmed psychologically and find it difficult to cope with life following a traumatic incident. Post traumatic stress disorder is commonly seen in victims of war, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Due to lack of knowledge about PTSD, fear of stigma or financial instability that prevents them from seeking treatment, people with PTSD often resort to alcohol or drug abuse to alleviate the psychic pain of the trauma.
Individuals impaired by PTSD present symptoms such as:
- Flashbacks, or intrusive memories of the traumatic incident that are unpreventable
- Persistent states of hypervigilance and hyperarousal
- Disruption of sleep patterns due to nightmares, insomnia and night terrors (especially in children or adolescents)
- Feelings of being emotionally numb, depersonalized and alienated from society
- Inability to establish long-term, meaningful relationships
- Clinical depression and suicidal ideation
- Frequent episodes of panic attacks that may develop into agoraphobia
- Physical problems resulting from a chronic state of anxiety—weight loss, migraines, hypertension and cardiovascular disease
In a desperate attempt to self-treat and cope with unbearably painful feelings, PTSD sufferers often become substance abusers in order to repress memories, thoughts and nightmares that remind them of the trauma. Because this relief is only temporary, they quickly become addicted to alcohol or drugs as the body and brain continues to exceed each tolerance level that is reached. When not under the influence of an addictive substance, PTSD victims experience worsening symptoms due to radical fluctuations in the chemical architecture of the brain.
Although PTSD and addiction can be an even more vicious cycle of alternating between momentary relief and excruciating emotional pain, trauma focused counseling provided by Serenity Now, CMHC can help clients overcome the addiction aspect while learning how to effectively manage stress, obsessive thoughts and the destruction that trauma inflicts on their self-identity. At Serenity Now, CMHC, we offer PTSD treatment services aimed to help our clients heal from their trauma and begin their new life in recovery.