Yesterday, we talked about veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of their military service. This disorder is understandable, given the complex, sometimes horrible things that many veterans witness, feel, and do during their time in the military. In fact, I’m always surprised that more veterans don’t have PTSD or other conditions relating to their trauma.
Veterans aren’t the only people who cope with PTSD. People who have experienced or witnessed violence, abuse, accidents, or disasters also might develop PTSD. Again, I’m surprised that more people who have experienced such events don’t develop PTSD.
Although, really, I’m surprised that more people in general don’t have to cope with PTSD. All of us have had to deal with horrible things in our lives. These horrible things can be physical or emotional. Our minds and spirits are complex, and life throws a lot of things at us on a daily basis. No wonder it can be tough to cope.
These stressful events and conditions can also cause or intensify other conditions, not just PTSD. People might struggle with anxiety or depression because of such conditions. But as complex and serious as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other conditions are, there is hope.
Dual diagnosis treatment is a good way to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other disorders when they accompany another serious and complex condition, substance use disorder. Some people with these conditions turn to abusing drugs and alcohol because they feel these substances will help them feel the pain, the anxiousness, or the depression just a little less.
But drugs and alcohol only provide a temporary release from such problems. Once the effects of these substances wear off, people often use more of them (and more of them) to ease their pain. Using increasing amounts of substances builds a tolerance, so people need to use even more of them to feel them. This use creates of vicious cycle of emotional distress and ever-increasing substance use.
Dual diagnosis treatment acknowledges the complex relationship between substance use disorder and conditions such as PTSD. It treats both so they don’t influence each other and make each other worse. It treats many aspects of people to help them lead healthier lives.