Substance Abuse and Concurrent PTSD Substance abuse and addiction are commonly linked to co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, depression and anxiety. Substance abuse makes it difficult to treat and recover from any mental health condition. PTSD can be particularly complicated by substance use because recovery from PTSD requires the person to reconnect with memories, thoughts, and feelings that they have suppressed or avoided. Drugs can numb emotions and alter thinking and memory, making it difficult for people with PTSD to process trauma while actively using substances.
Jeffrey's mission is to educate and inform the public about addiction issues and to help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. Many addiction experts suggest that by moving away from your typical environment and your “triggers”, it's easier to stay sober. Many medications not only directly cause these symptoms, but many others can also trigger them as residual effects. Nicotine is the main addictive component of tobacco (Benowitz, 199) and exerts its pharmacological effects by binding and activating nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptors (nAChRs).
In addition to prolonging the avoidance cycle and blocking the progress of treatment, medications ultimately worsen depression, anxiety, and trauma-related symptoms. A brain affected by a substance use disorder is susceptible to triggers, or places and people associated with drug use that can cause cravings. Systematic examination of the effects of chronic cocaine on these behavioral tasks will continue to provide valuable information on the mechanisms underlying the acquisition and maintenance of cocaine abuse, as well as the mechanisms underlying the comorbidity of psychostimulant addiction and anxiety disorders. PTSD can be very difficult for a victim to cope with, and a person fighting PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol to escape or numb their symptoms.
In addition, this effect of PTSD on cocaine seeking in addicts fits well with the changed stress response curve suggested by Koob and Le Moal (200) for psychostimulant addiction. Tull points out that hyperexcitation symptoms are related to depressive drugs such as alcohol or marijuana. According to the theory of the opposing process, homeostasis is maintained by an inhibitory process that arises during chronic drug exposure to counteract the drug-induced excitatory process. Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD experienced more severe alcohol and drug problems than those without PTSD (McFall, Mackay, %26 Donovan, 199, and the increase in alcohol and illicit drug use in PTSD patients parallels the increase in the number of PTSD symptoms (Bremner, Southwick, Darnell, %26 Charney, 199 This may suggest that in cocaine users with PTSD, recurrent stress that is a hallmark of PTSD may boost drug search.
The person can use it again to relieve these symptoms and begin a booster cycle that can lead to addiction. Taken together, these findings suggest that cocaine abuse and PTSD could interact in two ways, either through increased exposure to traumatic events while seeking drugs or by predisposing a cocaine addict to the development of PTSD by altering their stress response systems. Relapse prevention plans should create strategies to manage the symptoms and triggers of addiction and PTSD.