ptsd and substance abuse

PTSD and Substance Abuse: Understanding the Link

Several studies have documented the link between trauma and substance use disorders. People who experience traumatic events are more likely to develop substance dependency when compared to those who have not experienced trauma. Understanding the connection between PTSD and addiction is critical for proper addiction treatment and counseling. Discover more about PTSD and substance abuse and how to deal with them.

Contact In Balance Counseling today to discuss our intensive outpatient program in Tucson.

Understanding PTSD-Related Substance Dependency

People can develop post-traumatic stress disorder from experiencing adverse events, such as:

  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Violence against person
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Repeated exposure to adverse events

PTSD can produce recurring bouts of disturbance and anxiety, which can contribute to further mental illnesses such as depression.  

According to one 2010 study in the psychiatry journal Depression and Anxiety, nearly 60% of individuals with PTSD develop some kind of substance use disorder. Many who suffer from PTSD use substances to combat negative moods and thoughts from trauma. In that sense, substance use in trauma victims can often be seen as a type of self-medication. 

Signs of Substance Use Disorder From Trauma

Everyone processes trauma differently, so substance use disorders from trauma can present in a myriad of ways. However, common behaviors might include:

  • Expressing cravings or urgings for a substance
  • Taking larger and larger doses of a substance
  • Shirking social responsibility and engagement because of substance abuse
  • Risky behavior
  • Significant time spent acquiring substances
  • Increase substance tolerance
  • Changes in mood or executive functioning
  • Significant mood swings
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms after periods of non-use

Trauma victims may be more likely to use substances after experiencing external triggers that remind them about their traumatic experience(s).

Treatment for Co-Occurring PTSD and Substance Abuse 

There is no one singular solution for addiction, and clinics use several recovery strategies for PTSD and substance use counseling and treatment. Studies have found that intervention soon after the traumatic event can lower the chance that the individual develops trauma symptoms and develops a substance addiction.

Other research indicates that having a supportive social structure can reduce the risk of trauma-related substance use. This is one reason why peer counseling and group therapy are widely used options for managing PTSD with substance use.  

One of the biggest obstacles to treating the dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance abuse disorders is a lack of information and knowledge about treatment options. Trauma victims may be hesitant to seek counseling, and those with substance use problems may avoid treatment due to societal stigmas surrounding drug use. 

Substance Use Counseling in Tucson

Recovering from substance abuse is difficult, but you are not alone. Countless others have managed to heal and take back control of their lives. If you need some encouragement, read our blog to learn more about exercises for recovering from addiction

In Balance Counseling has been providing intensive in-patient counseling in Arizona for over 25 years. Contact us online or call (520) 722-9631 today to learn more about our counseling and inpatient options for PTSD and substance abuse. 

types of anxiety disorders

What Are the 6 Types of Anxiety Disorders?

What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders? If you’ve ever felt like your nerves are a highwire act, teetering between calm and chaos, you’re not alone. 

As the go-to provider of counseling services in Tucson, we at In Balance Counseling have seen several people grapple with mental challenges. The first step toward conquering them is through an accurate diagnosis. Call us at 520-722-9631 to learn more about our counseling services.

What’s the Difference Between Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety, in its simplest form, is a normal response to stress or danger. It’s that edge-of-your-seat sensation when you’re about to give a speech or take a big test.

An anxiety disorder is a whole different ball game. Anxiety disorder is when the feeling becomes a constant, uninvited guest in your life, showing up unannounced and overstaying its welcome.

Anxiety’s Many Faces

What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders? If any of these seem familiar, you might need to consider getting a proper evaluation:

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Do everyday problems seem like insurmountable mountains to you? Aside from excessive worry, GAD can also induce:

  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • General fatigue

You don’t have to sweep your difficulties under the rug and chalk them up as “day-to-day stress.” Persistent symptoms that last for over a year should catch your attention.

2. Panic Disorder

This disorder describes recurrent periods of psychological and physical distress. Common symptoms of a panic attack include rapid heart rate, trembling, sweating, light-headedness, and nausea.

You’re more likely to experience this if your family has a history of the ailment, but it can also manifest following traumatic experiences.

3. Phobia-Related Disorders

Any persistent fear or discomfort from specific objects or situations falls under this umbrella. Even normally innocuous things like spiders, elevators, or heights can provoke an intense, irrational fear. 

4. Separation Anxiety Disorder

Excessive fear or worry at the thought of being away from home or loved ones is characteristic of separation anxiety disorder. If it lasts a long time and becomes obstructive to your daily life, it could be more than just missing someone. 

5. Social Anxiety Disorder

Previously called social phobia, this disorder is about fearing social interactions. If you dread stepping on the party dance floor or speaking up in meetings, you might have it. The fear of being judged or humiliated in public can become so intense that it can cause blushing, sweating, or feeling sick.

6. Agoraphobia

Do crowded or new environments make your pulse race and your palms go clammy? Do you avoid public transportation or open areas? Agoraphobia is an intense fear of leaving your safe space.

Start Your Journey Towards Recovery

What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders, and which ones do you think affect you? People experience anxiety in different ways, so it makes sense that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In Balance Counseling has you covered.

From cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to motivational interviewing, we provide various routes to self-discovery and healing.Dial 520-722-9631 or explore our blog and discover the right therapy for anxiety disorder.

misconceptions about addiction

4 Common Misconceptions About Addiction

Do you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Any addiction presents a complicated problem that requires professional treatment. Those experiencing it tend to have little understanding of how it works and how hard getting sober is, which makes misconceptions about addiction commonplace. Is that why so many people create a general stigma surrounding addicts? 

Perhaps learning the truth behind these myths can improve the perception of dependence or even enhance general treatment approaches. In Balance Counseling services in Tucson focus on helping people conquer addiction and address underlying issues. Below, the team discusses four myths about addiction and how to break the cycle.

Myth #1: Someone Can Quit Their Addiction At Any Time

One of the most common misconceptions about addiction is that anyone can stop their addiction at any time. Even the strongest willpower cannot overcome addiction, particularly after the addiction has caused physical and psychological damage. Quitting on your own is almost impossible.

Instead, individualized attention from a substance abuse professional can prove invaluable in quitting an addiction. Counseling helps people address the underlying factors and gain the tools they need to get clean after extensive clinical treatments and integrative therapeutic approaches.

Myth #2: You Can’t Help People With Addictions

Many people believe that anyone addicted to drugs must be beyond help. However, all people with substance abuse disorders can get better, whether that’s through professional help and appropriate support from family members or other things that make a positive impact on someone with an addiction

Encouraging self-care is a great practice to promote increased self-worth in someone with low self-esteem, depression, or other underlying factors contributing to an addiction. Professional drug counselors also provide resources for coping with addiction, supporting loved ones with addiction, and navigating rehabilitation.

Myth #3: Happy People Aren’t Addicts

Another common misconception about addiction is that upbeat, happy people can’t be addicts. While death, job loss, illness, and divorce are all risk factors for addiction, they’re only some of the factors behind substance abuse issues. 

Even a person who leads a fulfilled life can develop an addiction! For example, a team like In Balance Counseling sees seemingly functional people struggle with factors such as:

  • Past trauma
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Mental health concerns

Don’t let the smile fool you; people with successful careers and loving families can still be susceptible to addiction. 

Myth #4: All Addiction Treatments Take the Same Tack

There’s a mindset that all addiction treatment involves the same thing. In reality, addiction is a nuanced condition, and so is the treatment each person needs.

Treating substance use disorders requires a thorough understanding of the mechanisms behind the particular addiction. For example, someone with an addiction stemming from childhood trauma would require quite specific therapeutic approaches and counseling to move beyond it.

The Truth About Addiction: Help Is Possible, and You Can Move Forward

Are you or someone you love struggling with addiction? In Balance Counseling provides addiction treatment in Tucson, AZ, including exercise to support addiction recovery. We’re striving to dispel misconceptions about addiction and help people lead their best lives, so contact 520-722-9631 to learn more!

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