Managing PTSD and Addiction Recovery

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Managing PTSD and Addiction Recovery

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to risky behaviors, such as substance use, to try and cope with your symptoms. This can bring you down a path of addiction and untreated mental health disorders. Managing PTSD can be a complex process, made even more complicated when learning to overcome addiction. Avalon Malibu can help you work through these diagnoses and reach your long-term sober goals.

Correlation Between PTSD and Addiction

PTSD is when you continue to have symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event that hinders your ability to live your daily life normally. These events can include things like natural disasters, combat, assault, or abuse. Experiencing an event like this puts the body in a state of fight or flight. This state can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, and immense fear.

The immense fear can result in lingering symptoms, such as flashbacks, constantly feeling tense or on edge, avoiding places and thoughts that remind you of the event, and engaging in risky behaviors. Risky behaviors, such as substance use, help you cope with the other symptoms after the traumatic event. Substance use as a coping mechanism can lead to tolerance and addiction as your body becomes accustomed to alcohol or drugs.

Ways of Managing PTSD and Addiction

There are similar methods for managing PTSD and addiction. Some of these methods include:


Having a regular daily routine can help reduce stress and anxiety while also giving you back the feeling of being in control. It takes away the stress of having to figure out what you are going to do day to day. You also limit the chances of coming into contact with triggers for your PTSD and addiction. Triggers can be sights, smells, sounds, or anything that reminds you of the traumatic experience or substance use.

Being able to control your schedule can help reduce feelings of anxiety about the unknown. It gives you back the power you felt you lost without overwhelming you. Routine gives you freedom with there still being structure to support you.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation is the practice of bringing mind, body, and spirit together through the use of a repeated mantra, visualization, or breathing techniques. A version of meditation is called mindfulness, which focuses on the present moment without using judgment. The use of meditation and mindfulness can help you find a sense of calm, evaluate a situation, and focus.

These practices help reduce stress and anxiety levels, evaluate what is causing your symptoms, and calm yourself down to find a solution. They also help open you up to being willing to go back to your traumatic event or substance use time. Returning to this time enables you to accept what happened, learn from it, and move on with your life.

Support Groups

Peer support groups can be a great way to find others with similar experiences. This community gives you something to lean on when you are struggling and others to learn from. It shows you that you are not alone. You can feel comfortable confiding in them because they understand what you are going through. It can also build your confidence in talking about your trauma and substance use to others.

Signs You May Need More Help Managing PTSD and Addiction

Are you struggling to cope with your symptoms, unable to perform daily activities, or feeling stuck? Then it may be time to reach out for more help. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and growth. It means you understand you have a problem you need help handling.

This help can come from entering a treatment facility, participating in an outpatient treatment program, or something as simple as confiding in someone you trust. It opens the opportunity for you to get new advice and help.

Avalon Malibu’s Method for Managing PTSD and Addiction

At Avalon Malibu, we are a holistic addiction and mental health treatment facility. Our treatment plans are built to harmonize your body, mind, and spirit. We can create a plan to fit your needs best using customized programs and different treatment modalities. Treating co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD and addiction, is something we pride ourselves on.

Our PTSD programs use psychotherapy or talk therapy and medication when necessary to aid in treatment. As a participant, you would meet with a licensed therapist three times a week in a safe, controlled environment. During these sessions, you learn coping mechanisms and different meditation techniques. You also revisit the traumatic experience to help you work through and overcome the thoughts and feelings related to it. The therapies used include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

We understand the correlation between PTSD and substance use and are equipped to treat the co-occurring disorders. Multiple treatment modalities can be used in the treatment of both conditions. A balance is put in place to ensure that the therapy for one disorder doesn’t interfere with or worsen the other. There is also scheduled time to ensure the treatment plan for both disorders can be followed.

Battling individual mental health disorders can be difficult; co-occurring disorders only stand to make it harder for you to function in your daily life. PTSD can lead to addiction because substance use is applied as a coping mechanism to lessen the symptoms. Addiction can lead to PTSD through the traumatic experiences you may face while using substances. Struggling with co-occurring disorders means that you need to change the way your treatment is done to truly overcome the underlying problems to reach long-term recovery. Reach out to Avalon Malibu at (844) 857-5992 for more information about overcoming PTSD and recovery. We want to help you reach your long-term goals and thrive in your sober life. 

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