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When Depressants and PTSD Mix

When Depressants and PTSD Mix

PTSD sufferers often use pills as a quick solution to their problems

Posttraumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) is a serious mental health concern that, according to the National Institutes of Health, affects 7.7 million individuals each year. Of these 7.7 million people, only 57.4% seek treatment, and those who do may lack the support they need for long-term mental and physical health. Untreated or mistreated PTSD can quickly lead to co-occurring substance abuse or addiction, because people may avoid professional help to treat their symptoms with drug abuse.

Many people with PTSD are no strangers to using pills as a quick solution to their problems. Saybrook University shares that 90 to 98 percent of combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan have used or been prescribed some form of psychiatric medication that ranges from anti-depressants to benzodiazepines (“For Veterans, Suicides and Anti-Depressants Rise Together,” March 2010). The University of California San Francisco shares that “veterans with pain and PTSD who received opiates were significantly more likely to receive higher dose prescriptions, two or more opiate prescriptions and concurrent prescriptions of sedative-hypnotics such as valium” (“Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans With Pain, PTSD,” March 6, 2012). Recommendations of physical and psychological therapy, which provide long-term solutions and coping skills, are prescribed less often and with less voracity, which leaves both veterans and everyday citizens at a loss as to how to manage their PTSD symptoms without drugs. People with PTSD may quickly become dependent upon or addicted to drugs if they rely upon medication and lack coping skills to address their problems.

Although depressant abuse comes with clear risks of overdose, increased depression and more, depressants are not the only drugs that are dangerous for individuals with PTSD. Saybrook University reveals that, “in 2008, the New York Times reported that over 1,000 suicide attempts a month were reported in veterans seen at VA facilities. These shocking statistics are matched by another one: from 2002 – 2008 the number of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics prescribed to military personnel and their families has nearly doubled.” Relying on drugs is not a solution to mental health concerns, as the results of their use are unpredictable, even when taken as prescribed. When abused or misused, drugs have an increased potential for serious consequences, so seek help as soon as possible to end your drug abuse habits.

PTSD is a serious health concern, and treatment requires more than a self-administered pill. Long-term recovery, particularly from both PTSD and addiction, comes from working with experienced medical professionals who understand your needs and concerns. If you are ready to take action and to find a healthy life for yourself or a loved one, then call our toll-free helpline today.