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What to Expect from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction Treatment in North Carolina

- 6 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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Chief Editor

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that may develop after experiencing a traumatic event. While some people who experience trauma heal from their past situations, others have a hard time coping with the memories and emotions tied to the event. Difficulty coping and lasting effects resulting from trauma leads to the development of PTSD, which can severely impact a person’s ability to function in their daily life.

While up to 60% of the population experiences a traumatic event at some point in their lives, only 6% develop post-traumatic stress disorder.[1] Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, depression, social isolation, and severe anxiety. If this condition is left untreated, you may begin to self-medicate your symptoms with drugs and alcohol.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly 50% of people with PTSD meet the criteria for a substance use disorder.[2]

Dealing with co-occurring PTSD and addiction can be extremely difficult, decreasing your overall quality of life. Trauma-informed addiction treatment centers in North Carolina can provide you with the support and tools you need to achieve recovery from both disorders. Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction typically involves comprehensive mental health counseling and behavioral therapy.

Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction in North Carolina

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex condition that requires extensive treatment and care. Addiction is similar in this manner, as treatment involves a combination of evidence-based therapies and services. When these conditions occur together, you must get help from a drug rehab center that includes treatment services for both disorders.

Medical Detox

The first step in treating an addiction is detox. When you are addicted to a substance, your body begins to depend on it to function properly. If you suddenly stop taking that drug, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.

Your detox treatment will depend on the type of substance you were abusing. Some drugs like opioids or alcohol require tapering medications that allow your body to naturally adjust to the absence of the substance. Other substances only require medications that target certain symptoms, like anti-nausea drugs and sleeping aids.

Medical detox centers aim to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible. Nurses will monitor your symptoms and administer medications that soothe the symptoms of withdrawal and prevent cravings so you can stay motivated to continue your recovery journey.

Trauma-Informed PTSD and Addiction Therapy

Once you are done detoxing, you can begin working on the emotional and psychological aspects of PTSD and addiction recovery. One of the most important aspects of treatment for both addiction and PTSD is behavioral therapy.

For addiction, therapy is used to help you identify the root cause of your substance abuse. When you have co-occurring PTSD, oftentimes the symptoms of your condition are the cause of your drug and alcohol abuse. Once the root cause is identified, you will participate in therapy to overcome the issues that led to your addiction.

The goal of trauma and PTSD therapy is to help you unpack your trauma in a healthy manner and in a safe setting and learn how to cope with trauma appropriately. Once you process the trauma, your symptoms will lessen.

Common therapies used during PTSD and addiction treatment in North Carolina include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Group counseling

Medications

In addition to therapy, the medical doctor may prescribe medication to patients who need them. Medications are usually used on a short-term basis to help people experience relief while they are working in therapy.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the main type of medications used to treat the symptoms of PTSD. Examples of SSRIs include:[3]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

These medications help stabilize the chemical imbalances that PTSD causes in your brain. By stabilizing certain neurotransmitters, your symptoms will lessen and you will experience relief. However, it is important to remember that medication must be taken in combination with therapy and counseling.

Aftercare Planning

Lastly, you will participate in aftercare planning before you leave your treatment facility.

Staying sober is much easier when you are in a treatment program. Once you leave the facility, you will be faced with everyday stressors from work, home, or just in general. These stressors can be triggers for relapse, making it important that you are armed with the tools you need to stay sober.

Aftercare planning involves the following services and support:

  • Continued therapy and group counseling
  • Continued medication management
  • Access to alumni support groups
  • Referrals to sober living housing programs
  • Recommendations on PTSD and addiction support groups to attend
  • A list of triggers and coping mechanisms to use in times of need

Find Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction in North Carolina Today

If you or a loved one suffer from PTSD and addiction, recovery is possible. Living with these conditions can significantly impact your ability to function in your daily life, but professional treatment can provide you with the support you need to recover.

For more information on our treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, contact Carolina Center for Recovery today.

References:

  1. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp
  2. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/cooccurring/tx_sud_va.asp
  3. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/meds_for_ptsd.asp

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