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Does PTSD Cause Alcohol Abuse Among Military Veterans?

PTSD and alcohol abuse in veterans is a common occurrence. This is especially true for those who struggle with these issues and have not received treatment for them. Sound Recovery Centers offers military trauma treatment and alcohol rehab services to veterans in Washington State.

Complex trauma, also called complex PTSD, and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. This is why seeking professional help is so important if you are experiencing alcohol and substance abuse in PTSD. We are here to help you overcome these problems and start living a better life.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after exposure to a traumatic event. This condition is particularly common among military members. Of course, it can apply to any trauma survivor.

Individuals with PTSD might experience several symptoms. The most common include stress, fear, anxiety, and nervousness. While these symptoms may seem normal, PTSD can make them quite severe.

Those who suffer from this condition experience these symptoms in extreme amounts. This can make them feel like they are constantly in danger. Over time, their symptoms can make it feel impossible to live a normal life.

At some point in their life, 7 out of every 100 Veterans will experience PTSD. This number is slightly higher than the national average. Getting deployed can increase the risk of developing PTSD three times greater.

Women are also considered more likely to develop PTSD during service due to the risk of military sexual trauma (MST). With that said, PTSD is a significant problem for veterans – and one that can all too often lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

What Is the Connection Between PTSD and Alcohol Abuse?

There is a strong connection between PTSD and alcohol use disorders. People with PTSD are much more likely to abuse alcohol, and vice versa. While this connection is complex, it typically boils down to two main factors:

  • Self-medication: People with PTSD may drink alcohol to try to cope with difficult emotions and memories. Alcohol can temporarily numb emotional pain and intrusive thoughts. However, this is not a healthy coping mechanism. In the long run, alcohol abuse can worsen PTSD symptoms.
  • Increased risk: People who abuse alcohol are more likely to experience traumatic events that could lead to PTSD. This is because alcohol can impair judgment and increase risky behavior.

For veterans, their relationship with alcohol is almost always the self-medicating kind. They may lack the resources or even knowledge to healthily manage their condition. Instead, they turn to alcohol to numb their symptoms.

Unfortunately, this is not an effective long-term solution. Both short-term and chronic drinking can exacerbate PTSD symptoms and even lead to new health problems. Alcohol is by no means a solution to PTSD, and should not be relied on as one.

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol addiction can be dangerous to your health in many ways. Several short-term effects of alcohol can be unpleasant and even dangerous. For one, alcohol impairs your judgment and coordination. This can lead to accidents, injuries, and violence. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.

In the long term, a drinking problem can also damage your liver, heart, brain, and other organs. It can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Cancer is another risk of chronic alcohol abuse. This includes cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon.

Furthermore, alcohol addiction can harm more than just your physical or mental health. It can cause damage to your relationships, career, and finances. If you are struggling with alcohol, this can be a lonely battle. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available.

Who Can Help Veterans with Alcohol Addiction?

If you are struggling with PTSD and alcohol abuse, seeking treatment will be your best option. Being able to recover in a secure and structured environment is crucial for your well-being during this time.

Professional treatment centers for military personnel like ours can provide the support and care you need during this difficult time. Our step-down treatment options allow our guests to pass through a full continuum of care. This ensures they are receiving the exact treatment they need at every stage of their recovery journey. Behavioral therapy like EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and more can all help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. That means veterans won’t feel as triggered to drink by these mental health issues.

Veteran Alcohol Abuse Recovery at Royal Life Centers

Deciding to seek help for an alcohol use disorder can be scary. Rest assured, it is the best possible choice you can make for yourself – and at Sound Recovery Centers, we are here for you every step of the way.

We understand that veterans and first responders need treatment that is tailored to their unique needs. We offer specialized, trauma-informed care for individuals struggling with alcohol misuse resulting from military service.

Our Valor program for veterans offers evidence-based treatment and holistic healing services. These work together to address your unique trauma-related symptoms. Our certified and licensed treatment providers are specially trained to understand the unique challenges faced by military personnel.

Through our program, you will be able to recover in an environment alongside peers who understand what you are going through. This level of support and acceptance can be crucial to your recovery.

If you are seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and ready to start living a better life free from alcohol misuse, we are here to help. Our behavioral therapy admissions team is available 24/7 to walk you through treatment and get you started on the path to success. Call us to learn more about how our valor program can be a great fit for your recovery needs.

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