Ptsd and Drug Abuse
Though specialized treatment, including individual and group counselling and prescribed medication, is usually available, the strong relationship between trauma and substance use/abuse is undeniable.
Trauma is a serious and sometimes life threatening condition, caused by a physical, emotional, or psychological event. It causes fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and shock in a person as a response to the threat of injury or death (Yehuda, 2002). A traumatic occurrence may be directly experienced, witnessed, or learned about, and is often followed by symptoms such as the avoidance of stimuli that is related to the event (Van Ameringen, 2008). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be diagnosed if an individual’s symptoms are exhibited for a period of one month and can develop into a chronic disorder if symptoms persist for longer than three months (Van Ameringen, 2008). Stress, which is the direct result of traumatic events, some of the most common including war, child abuse (both physical and sexual), and accidents causing bodily harm, cause a dysfunction within a person’s defense mechanisms. As well as struggling with substance abuse, traumatized individuals are at an increased risk for developing many other types of disorders (Yehuda, 2002). Approximately 36%-50% of people who seek treatment for substance use disorders (SUD’s), also meet the criteria for chronic or ‘lifetime’ PTSD (Brady, 2004). Research suggests that most women who are diagnosed with PTSD have