PTSD Treatment in Florida: The Connection Between PTSD and Addiction

Do you or someone you know have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? If so, you’re not alone; over 12 million Americans have PTSD, and most seek treatment to help cope with the traumatic events they endured. Unfortunately, because of the severe effects of PTSD, many cope by abusing drugs to help them feel normal instead of seeking help for their condition. People turn to substance abuse because they don’t have the proper tools to help them through this difficult time. We’ll explain more about the direct link between post-traumatic stress disorder and PTSD and what options for PTSD treatment in Florida are available.

Understanding PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a mental health disorder developed after witnessing or experiencing an event such as child abuse, natural disaster, or military combat exposure. Auto accidents, losing a loved one, witnessing a death, and physical or sexual assault are other traumatic events that can trigger PTSD. Those with PTSD may struggle to cope or adjust to the physical or emotional aftermath of the event.

Some people eventually learn to adjust with minimal support, whereas with others, they get worse. Depending on the severity of PTSD, some people’s symptoms last for months or years and can impact how they function every day. 

Symptoms of PTSD

There are several different symptoms one might experience when suffering from PTSD. For example, someone could develop recurrent or unwanted memories of the traumatic event or suffer from flashbacks of the event. Other symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Hopelessness of the future
  • Lack of interest in things that once were enjoyable
  • Negative thoughts about the world
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Guilt 
  • Shame
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Easily startled or frightened

As someone progresses through their PTSD, their symptoms may worsen or intensify. Most people notice that their symptoms of PTSD aggravate during times of stress or anxiety.

Others become triggered when they are near the area where the traumatic event happened or if their environment reminds them of the event. If you or someone you love showcases these symptoms, they may have PTSD. It is best to reach out to a licensed professional for PTSD treatment in Florida to see how to best help them through this tough time. 

Relationship Between Addiction and PTSD

Abusing alcohol or drugs is another common symptom of someone who has PTSD. PTSD and substance abuse feed into one another because they cause chemical imbalances in the brain.

They also correlate because some people use substances to help cope with their PTSD symptoms. After a traumatic event, the brain produces fewer endorphins, leaving people feeling depressed, anxious, or unhappy.

To help cope with those feelings, most turn to drugs that help boost dopamine or endorphins to make themselves feel “better.” Such drugs are cocaine, methamphetamines, and prescription opioids. Others use other drugs, such as benzos and alcohol, to numb their feelings so they don’t feel anxious or depressed. 

Signs of Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Those who abuse drugs or alcohol to cope with their PTSD often exhibit symptoms of decreased appetite, mood swings, and changes in their spending habits. Other symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Being defensive
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Changes in their skin tone

Co-occurring disorders such as substance addiction and PTSD are common among veterans. If you or someone you know exhibit these behaviors, it is crucial to seek help from a facility that can help deal with both disorders. 

Treating PTSD

Using substances to cope with PTSD over long periods can rewire the brain’s neurocircuitry. This means that the brain depends on the substance to feel normal. One must have the two treated simultaneously to undo the damage of PTSD and substance abuse. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, helps assist people cope with their memories. While in inpatient care, a licensed therapist can help you work through the effects of the traumatic impact while coordinating treatment plans to help with substance addiction.

Physical Exercise

Another way to treat PTSD and substance abuse is through physical activity. The endorphins your body releases during physical activity can help to soothe anxiety and depression. Of course, everyone responds to treatment differently, and one thing may work for someone and not someone else. The best way to find out what treatment options are best for you is to reach out to a treatment provider for more information. They will evaluate the situation and determine the best plan to get you or your loved one to a more comfortable state of living. 

PTSD Treatment in Florida

PTSD and addiction often go hand in hand because some people use substances to help deal with the traumatic side effects of PTSD. This is understandable as PTSD has the potential to impact your daily functions, making you want to cope with the awful feelings that come with suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love exhibits substance abuse and PTSD symptoms, it is best to immediately seek PTSD treatment in Florida. Contact us for more information on how we can help you through this difficult time. Our team of professionals is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the journey to recovery.

Medically Reviewed: November 1, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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