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Dual Diagnosis Treatment for People With PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that arises from a traumatic past. The intense distress of this condition poses unique challenges, and these problems can be exacerbated by a drug or alcohol addiction.

Trauma is a powerful force, and its impact on addiction and recovery cannot be overstated. Co-occurring PTSD and addiction feed into one another, making it harder to recover from substance abuse and manage mental health symptoms.

The Complex Relationship Between PTSD and Addiction

Post-traumatic stress disorder is more than just a collection of bad memories. In the face of extreme stress, fear, danger or prolonged abuse, the human brain simply cannot process things the way it normally would. Even after the severe trauma has ended, the brain can still act as if the danger has not yet passed. Various PTSD treatment methods can help process trauma, like talk therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Examples of traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • Military experience, especially combat
  • Sexual assault
  • Various abusive trauma
  • Severe accidents
  • Witnessing extremely distressing events or images

The symptoms of PTSD can make it extremely difficult to navigate the world, find employment, and maintain close relationships. It can also be extremely painful to continue reliving the trauma over and over again.

PTSD and addiction
military man with trauma speaking to therapist

Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Persistent anxiety
  • Flashbacks (feeling like the traumatic event is currently happening)
  • Hair-trigger irritability/aggression
  • Memory problems
  • Constant sense of vigilance/being “on edge”
  • Sleep problems
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Low mood and self-worth
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Isolation, feeling detached others

A substance use disorder is a chemical and psychological dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. Depending on the substance being abused, signs and symptoms of addiction disorders may include:

  • Unusual behavior
  • Difficulty keeping a job or meeting responsibilities
  • Deteriorating physical appearance
  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Constantly seeing different doctors
  • Seeming intoxicated at inappropriate times
  • Worsening mental illness symptoms

When addiction and PTSD symptoms occur together, it’s called a dual diagnosis. At Del Arroyo Recovery Center in Southern California, our trauma therapists approach treatment for PTSD and substance use from all angles, providing holistic treatment that addresses the addiction alongside any co-occurring conditions.

Listen therapist and military veteran with support in therapy
substance abuse and PTSD

How We Treat Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and PTSD

The first step in our dual diagnosis substance abuse and PTSD treatment is to thoroughly evaluate the client’s current health and needs. We work one-on-one with each client to uncover co-occurring disorders like PTSD and identify their unique PTSD symptoms and addiction triggers. All of our PTSD treatment plans are individually tailored to the client to ensure a safe, supportive experience that suits their needs.

Addressing trauma with co-occurring addictions requires an effective, evidence-based treatment program. The following are some of the types of therapies we use in treatment for PTSD and drug or alcohol addiction:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Medical detox
  • Medication management
  • Family support
  • Coping strategies development
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Physical activities, like yoga
  • Mindfulness and relaxation practices, like meditation

At our Agoura Hills rehab facility, we understand the importance of a well-rounded, whole-person strategy for those with mental health conditions. By processing the underlying trauma and ending the cycle of drug abuse, we help clients learn to manage their mental health conditions and build a foundation for a healthy life.

After Addiction and PTSD Treatment

Our Los Angeles-area facility continues to provide support to clients even after they finish their inpatient treatment programs. Del Arroyo alumni can continue taking advantage of group counseling, individual counseling, support group meetings, and other helpful mental health resources.

Diversity hug and friends walking at the beach for holiday
PTSD and addiction at Del Arroyo recovery

Get Treatment for PTSD and Addiction at Del Arroyo Recovery in Agoura Hills, CA

If you or someone you love is struggling with the repercussions of PTSD and drug and alcohol use, trauma therapy at our Agoura Hills substance abuse treatment center can help. At our dual diagnosis PTSD treatment center in the beautiful coastal Los Angeles area, you can find the expert care and peace of mind you need to start over. Contact us today to learn more and start your journey toward sobriety and freedom from trauma.

It’s possible to stop using cocaine and crack with the right help.

Don’t wait another day. Get in touch to learn more about our residential program and cocaine addiction treatment center in Southern California.