By recognizing the early warning signs of PTSD, individuals struggling can find the help they need and recover from PTSD. Unfortunately, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often associated with individuals who have served in the military and experienced combat first-hand. However, PTSD is a mental health disorder that could potentially affect anyone. Therefore, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common signs and symptoms of PTSD.
What Causes PTSD?
You can develop PTSD if you have been exposed to a traumatic experience or undergone repeated trauma, such as:
- Seeing people die in front of you in a violent manner.
- Witnessing a sexual assault and not being able to stop it.
- Being constantly bullied physically, verbally, or socially.
- Being involved in a traumatic accident like a house fire or severe car accident.
- Being physically or emotionally abused throughout your childhood.
- Being physically or emotionally neglected throughout your childhood.
- Experiencing an unexpected loss, like a child or spouse, in a traumatic manner.
It is crucial to keep in mind the trauma does not have to be extreme. PTSD can still develop when you are not able to cope with a less severe traumatic experience. However, it is equally important to remember that some people will experience a traumatic event and never develop PTSD because they are better equipped to cope with the trauma.
Early Warning Signs of PTSD
To determine whether you have PTSD, review these early warning signs of PTSD to see if they apply to your situation. If they do, you could have PTSD and should consider seeking help from a professional.
- You experience the event through nightmares, dreams, or flashbacks months or years after the trauma.
- You find that you are not able to experience certain emotions or feelings.
- You have a negative outlook on life.
- You have problems forming new friendships and relating to others.
- You blame yourself for the traumatic event.
- You view yourself as being worthless.
- You allow others to humiliate and pick on you.
- You constantly monitor your surroundings looking for danger.
- You become hypersensitive to different scents and smells.
- You deliberately avoid specific situations, locations, or people that were a part of the traumatic event.
- You lose all interest in activities and events you once enjoyed.
- You find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
- You have no interest in eating or use excessive eating as a coping mechanism.
- You have no desire to live.
- You are having suicidal thoughts.
Experiencing these signs and symptoms could indicate PTSD, or they could indicate other mental health issues. Furthermore, everyone can experience different signs and symptoms of PTSD depending on their ability to cope with the traumatic experience.
Can PTSD Lead to Addiction?
PTSD can lead to addiction when someone with this mental health disorder turns to drugs or alcohol as a means to self-manage the condition. Various types of drugs and alcohol can alleviate many of the signs and symptoms of PTSD.
While under the influence of drugs and alcohol, a person tends to feel more like their former self before the traumatic event. However, these feelings are short-lived based on how long the effects of the drugs and alcohol remain in the body.
As they start to wear off, the negative emotions and feelings of PTSD start to return. Unfortunately, what usually occurs is the person will use more drugs or drink more alcohol to return to a euphoric state.
Sadly, as the body develops tolerance to drugs and alcohol, larger amounts have to be used to achieve and maintain a euphoric state. Eventually, this leads to substance dependence that gradually becomes substance abuse disorder and addiction.
How Are PTSD Warning Signs Treated?
PTSD is treated by helping the individual learn how to overcome their traumatic experience by enabling them with the right tools and skills. The person needs to heal from trauma using a phased approach, starting with creating a safe space for the individual where they can feel safe and begging to trust themselves and others around them.
The next phase of treatment is to help the individual examine their current set of beliefs and start to change those related to their trauma. Doing so helps the individual look at their trauma in a new light and begin to start to address their trauma.
Next, as the person moves through PTSD treatment, they will learn how to reconnect with themselves and others as they continue to transform mentally and physically. The last phase of treatment involves looking forward and preparing for the future.
In cases where someone is suffering from early warning signs of PTSD and addiction, the substance abuse disorder should be treated alongside PTSD as a co-occurring condition.
Getting Help With Trauma Atlanta
Are you suffering from PTSD and have turned to drugs or alcohol to manage your PTSD symptoms? When you are ready to move forward with your life and overcome your PTSD and addiction, Buckhead Behavioral Health offers trauma therapy in Atlanta.
We offer customized treatment plans for early warning signs of PTSD and substance addiction in a caring, supportive, and safe environment. To learn more about our PTSD and substance addiction treatment programs, learn more about our admissions process today.