Treatment for PTSD and Addiction Near San Diego, California

Daily life is stressful for many. For most, work, chores, over-packed schedules, childcare, traffic, and other everyday stressors are built into each day’s routine. Other problems, like arguments, missed deadlines, illnesses, and more, can add to the mental and physical strain of life and cause even more stress.

In many cases, people have the resources to manage stress in the moment and recover. Over time, people develop coping skills–distraction, regular exercise, talking it out, etc.–that can help them deal with stressful moments and continue functioning.

However, some stressful events can overwhelm a person’s ability to cope. Experiences like the death of a loved one, a life-threatening accident or medical condition, a natural disaster, and more can cause intense distress that affects people for years or decades afterward.

The lasting effects of an intensely stressful or frightening event are called “trauma.” Trauma that lasts for long periods after the stressful event may meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder has symptoms that can keep people from functioning adequately and may increase a person’s risk for developing substance abuse or addiction.

This article will explore the relationship between PTSD and addiction and how these conditions are treated. Contact the team at Arise Treatment Center now to learn about treatment for PTSD and addiction near San Diego or to schedule an intake assessment.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences a highly stressful event. Some examples of traumatic events that may result in PTSD include:

  • A severe illness, accident, or injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, fall, life-threatening medical diagnosis, traumatic birth, and more
  • Living through a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, wildfire, flood, or earthquake
  • Being the victim of a violent crime, such as a sexual assault, childhood abuse, or physical assault
  • Witnessing an act of terrorism
  • The death of a loved one
  • Military combat or service

Any event that threatens a person’s life or safety or causes extreme stress can be considered traumatic.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Stress is the primary symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People may exhibit stress from PTSD  in many ways, including:

  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Changes in appetite–loss of appetite or increased appetite
  • Nightmares
  • Hypervigilance (constantly feeling alert and looking for potential danger)
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Flashbacks (re-living the traumatic event)
  • Anger or aggression

Symptoms of trauma sometimes develop soon after the event occurs but may take months or even years to show up. The symptoms a person experiences may change or fluctuate in intensity over time.

Exploring the Link Between PTSD and Addiction

Many mental health experts believe that untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma may increase a person’s risk for substance abuse and addiction. When people are faced with stress that overwhelms their ability to cope, they often turn to any means necessary to continue functioning–including using drugs and alcohol.

Using drugs and alcohol to dull emotional and physical pain is called “self-medication.” Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol may provide brief periods of relief from the discomfort of trauma and stress but can also lead to physical and emotional dependence and addiction.

Heavy or frequent substance use can cause physical and chemical changes in the brain and body, making it very difficult to stop using drugs and alcohol without professional intervention.

Simply treating the physical aspect of addiction isn’t enough to cause lasting change. Addiction is a complex condition with roots in a person’s genetics, environment, behaviors, and health. Recovering from addiction must include understanding the factors that contribute to it and giving people healthy skills to cope with these challenges.

Treatment for PTSD and Addiction Near San Diego

Roughly half of all people seeking addiction treatment also meet the criteria for PTSD or trauma. Compassionate, holistic treatment for PTSD and addiction is essential. People must receive comprehensive care for both conditions simultaneously to have the best chance at a full, lifelong recovery.

Treatment for PTSD and addiction is available in several levels of care and many settings near San Diego. Like other substance use disorder treatment programs, treatment for PTSD and addiction includes individualized treatment to identify and address the roots of addiction. Treatment plans include:

  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Coping skills practice
  • Medications
  • Mental health treatment
  • Aftercare planning

But treatment for PTSD and addiction also includes therapies designed to identify and heal the roots of trauma. Trauma therapies include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) CBT aims to change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to trauma by identifying and modifying dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors.
  • Rapid Resolution Therapy – This therapy focuses on swiftly resolving emotional distress by reprogramming how the brain stores traumatic memories through visualization and communication techniques.
  • Exposure Therapy – Involves gradual, controlled exposure to trauma-related stimuli to reduce fear and anxiety responses, helping individuals confront and process their traumatic experiences.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR uses directed eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to facilitate the processing of traumatic memories, reducing their emotional impact and aiding in resolution.

These therapies can be incorporated into treatment plans, allowing people to receive the addiction treatment they need while also working to heal trauma.

The Importance of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is crucial when it comes to treating PTSD and addiction as it acknowledges the prevalence of trauma and its profound impact on individuals. The focus of a trauma-informed approach is to ensure a compassionate approach that prioritizes understanding, safety, and empowerment for those who have experienced trauma.

Trauma-informed framework ensures environments, interactions, and interventions consider the potential effects of trauma, aiming to prevent re-traumatization while fostering healing, resilience, and recovery. It promotes a culture of sensitivity, respect, and support, recognizing that many behaviors and reactions stem from past traumatic experiences.

Find Treatment for PTSD and Addiction Near San Diego

If you or someone you love requires treatment for PTSD and addiction near San Diego, the care you need is available at Arise Treatment Center. Our dedicated specialists will work with you every step of the way to help you heal from trauma and move forward into a healthier, sober future.

Call now to learn more about our holistic substance use treatment programs near San Diego or to schedule an intake assessment for yourself or a loved one.


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