Thursday, March 26, 2009

When you need to beat PTSD and addictions

There is a very complicated problem with PTSD that does not get discussed enough. While most PTSD veterans rely on drugs and alcohol to kill off feelings they do not want to feel, calm jumping nerves, among other relief of symptoms, they are not addicted to the chemicals themselves. They are seeking relief. When they are treated by programs like AA, or rehabs, these programs my offer temporary sobriety, but soon the veteran is turning back to self-medication.

The problem comes when they are also addicted as alcoholics and drug addicts. If the program they enter into is only focusing on treating the addiction and not PTSD, again, these programs fail more often than not. The proper diagnosis needs to be done in order to provide the proper treatment. When PTSD and addictions are both addressed, there is a higher success rate.

There is no shame in being an alcoholic or addicted to drugs any more than there should be shame in being wounded by PTSD. My father was a disabled Korean veteran, but he was also an alcoholic. He joined AA when I was 13 and spent the rest of his life sober. He became a sponsor of many other alcoholics. My father was amazing. He knew his heart was very ill as he suffered many heart attacks and strokes, but he would not reach for alcohol even knowing he was, as the doctors phrased it "on borrowed time" and was facing the possibility the next heart attack could be his last. He passed away in 1987 at the age of 58.

Treatment works if they know exactly what they are treating but support is also vital in getting thru the worst times, finding someone you can talk to wearing the same shoes you are. There is a site you should check out to see if you can find support there to stand stronger than you can alone.
About Beating Addiction
Originally made available to users in early 2006 and then completely rebuilt throughout 2008, Beating Addiction aims to be the leading online social-networking site that helps users overcome their addiction(s), mainly, by talking and communicating with others.

We know many people are interested in recovering but, for the more serious addictions, are afraid of joining a "real-life" support group because of various different reasons. Beating Addiction makes an effort to solve this problem by, indirectly, connecting people with one another. As a result, people will be more inclined to seek help and in doing so, they are taking the first step(s) toward recovery.

Users do not have to register with Beating Addiction to view the majority of the site however we do encourage registration so one may be may be more proactive in their pursuit of recovery. Additionally, the premise is users helping users so we need you!

Whether a person is in a "real-life" support group, a support group on a different web site, or is willing to try something a bit different, Beating Addiction can offer a new experience which, we feel, will help a user be well on their way to the road to recovery.

I had a long talk with Alexander Kintis yesterday. This is his site and his effort to supply a support network to help people dealing with addictions. It has a lot of information and links to help you.


  1. If you were to discussed the severity of PTSD(post traumatic stress disorder) with any doctor they would tell you exactly how mentally crippling it can be to their patiences. Rehabs are usually known to treat a variety of drug addictions, though in providing "the proper diagnosis" needed experts may sometimes forget how life treating PTSD can truly be. Not to mention how small of a percentage that actually effects addicts. I don't necessarily agree either with the governments views on the importance of psychiatric evaluations in correlation to our veterans. I diverge, though its still my belief that traumatic events almost always leads to some sort of drug related co-dependence. The research of both problems has lead me to techniques used in whats known as the psychotherapy. This form of treatment tackles depression which broadens our understanding about the behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to the initial reason for the addiction (which constitutes the addicts PTSD)at that point of the rehabilitation process the addict can then being to regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.

    Excellent blog post, it bring some important issues to light.

  2. Thank you for your comment and insight.
    I remember when my husband was being treated in rehabs and they were not working. It added to his sense of "it's my fault" because the programs were not doing any good. It took a long time before he was able to understand he was not addicted to the chemicals but seeking relief instead. Once he was finally treated for PTSD instead, medications replaced what alcohol did for him and he stopped drinking. Within this post I wanted to make sure that the people addicted to alcohol and drugs understand they are battling two problems and mental health professionals need to make the right diagnosis in the first place. It would have saved my husband and our family a lot of pain and a lot of lost time dealing with the wrong problem.


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