Tag Archives: PTSD

Tag Archives: PTSD


Woman seeking trauma informed care during addiction recoveryAfter experiencing a dangerous or upsetting event, it’s natural to feel anxious, sad or in shock. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anger, irritability, depression and so many other symptoms that can appear after traumatic events, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men to develop it in their lifetimes. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that women who struggle with PTSD often experience troubles in their intimate relationships, sleeping disturbances, suicidal behaviors, loss of trust and more. Unfortunately, many survivors of trauma wait years to seek help – and that’s why trauma informed care is critical for women in addiction recovery.

When someone walks through the front doors for treatment, they come with a wide array of knowledge, experiences, thoughts, emotions and more. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies reports that one-quarter to three-quarters of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic events go on to report problematic alcohol use, and women exposed to traumatic events report a higher rate of increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Since PTSD may still be lingering when a person seeks treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s crucial for trained professionals to have a thorough understanding of trauma and what a client needs during these times. It can make a huge difference, such as:

  • The difference between what one client needs over another
  • Understanding when grief needs to take place
  • Helping a client identify some of the underlying beliefs that developed from their traumatic experiences
  • Coping mechanisms and ways of healing from traumatic events

For some women, substances have been the only way to seemingly “drown out” the pain experienced from PTSD. Symptoms of this disorder, along with stress and anxiety from other life situations, can make it hard to cope – especially when there are little resources to work with. Trauma informed care ensures that those in recovery are considered for all they’ve been through – through this, a person can receive the most personalized care possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

PTSD and Alcoholism: A Common Co-Occurring Disorder

When we’re faced with a traumatic event, stress kicks in – and there’s no doubt that as our fear response becomes more present than ever, our entire system can be affected – even long after the event has occurred. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that impacts around 13 million people in the United States each year. Characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anxiety, depression, anger and more, PTSD can be debilitating. For those who don’t seek help, the stress and exhaustion can eventually catch up – and with seemingly little ways to turn, substance abuse often becomes a coping mechanism.

Alcohol has been widely promoted in our society as a way to have fun, relax and forget about stressors. The term, “self-medication”, is used when a person is trying to manage their emotional upsets by drinking or using drugs – alcohol, for instance, can mask some of the painful symptoms of PTSD by causing a person to become more relaxed. Even though it may feel like a few drinks helps lessen that anxiety or other symptom, however, it’s only temporary – and the symptoms of PTSD will reappear. In other cases, alcohol can worsen the symptoms – which makes it all the more difficult to manage.

Last year, researchers conducted a study regarding PTSD and alcoholism that was published in The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. They wanted to know how anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms as a whole were associated to alcoholism, and they found that while anxiety and depression severity did have an impact on alcohol-related issues, PTSD symptoms were the most significant predictor. These types of co-morbidity (also known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders) can be even more debilitating for a person, as they now must deal with the symptoms of PTSD and fulfill the never-ending demands of addiction.

Despite the fact that PTSD and alcoholism is a common occurrence, there is so much help available – making recovery more possible than ever before. It’s a hard reality to face, but the symptoms of PTSD won’t go away unless you work through the pain you’re experiencing and find a ground for healing. After a traumatic event, grief and sadness should be felt – but after some time has gone by, it’s important to move forward and find strength again.  Resilience is crucial to build after a devastating event, because you still deserve to have a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.


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