Veterans and civilians battling PTSD no longer have to suffer in silence. Like never before, treatment professionals are equipped with the knowledge, compassion, and tools to help those with PTSD find relief from their symptoms and build a better life. No one can ever erase what happened to you. (Indeed, the attempt to do so is what causes most issues related to PTSD in the first place.) However, there is a lot that you can do for yourself or for a loved one to find freedom from PTSD.
What is PTSD?
There hasn’t always been much hope for those struggling from PTSD. Though millions certainly struggled with it for decades – and especially in the wake of major conflicts like the World Wars – PTSD was not added to the DSM as a standard mental illness (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) until 1980.
Then and now, PTSD has been defined as a psychiatric disorder characterized by a group of symptoms that arise after someone experiences a traumatic event. Just what constitutes a traumatic event is different for everyone depending on their personal upbringing, constitution, and resilience. Within the field trauma is defined as “Big T” trauma – combat, sexual assault, or personal injury – and “Small T” trauma: divorce in the family, losing a pet, or other challenging life experiences. All types of trauma can leave deep emotional scars that cause anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and other symptoms.
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that your trauma wasn’t “bad enough” to warrant help. If you are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD or watching a loved one go through it, you deserve professional treatment that will help you find freedom – no matter the nature of the trauma that caused those issues.
PTSD & Veterans
Obviously, due to the nature of combat veterans suffer from PTSD at rates that exceed those of normal civilians, with some studies finding over 30% of respondents suffering. (Among civilians, roughly 8% of women and 4% of men had PTSD in the last year, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.) For example, one 2013 study found that 13.5% of veterans from the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts screened positive for PTSD. The US military now screens veterans for PTSD at discharge, but that doesn’t always mean that everyone who needs help gets it.
PTSD & Addiction
Unfortunately, many people struggling with PTSD attempt to self-medicate their symptoms, using drugs or alcohol for temporary relief with long-term consequences. Indeed, in one 2012 study of people receiving treatment for addiction, “almost every patient had encountered at least one traumatic event in his/her lifetime,” and 36.6% of participants showed signs of PTSD.
How to Cure PTSD
Truly finding lasting relief from PTSD requires a comprehensive and caring approach that heals the underlying trauma as well as any mental or behavioral health issues and co-occurring disorders – like addiction – that have grown out of it. Even just a simple intervention like prescribing medication can have a massive effect: A 2016 study by the National Institutes of Health found a 78% improvement among those struggling with PTSD who were prescribed medication.
When you introduce supplemental therapies such as group therapy, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or eye movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR). It can have a powerful and lasting effect.
At Acqua Recovery, we offer a sanctuary for healing where those struggling with PTSD and associated substance use disorder can find freedom from the brutal cycle they are living in. Our Masters-level clinicians and addiction treatment staff use a trauma-informed approach to craft a customized treatment plan for each client, helping them renew their life from the inside out. If you’re interested in finding recovery for yourself or a loved one, call us or send a chat and we can walk you through your options with patience, understanding, and hope for recovery.