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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Treating Addiction and PTSD Recovery as One

The majority of mental health professionals and theorists in their writings separate and differentiate between addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clients. All professionals on both sides express how addicts and survivors should be treated separately

Addiction clients are considered to have a disease and PTSD clients are theorized as having a psychological anomaly of the mind in their writings, research and practice.

Surprisingly these two groups are more similar in their symptoms and needs than not


It is very commonly known that 98% of all addicts have a history of abuse, combat, trauma or painful and hurt experiences in their lives. In the group of individuals who are labeled PTSD 98% of them involve themselves in 1 or more addictions.  On one hand it is widely known that a triggering or flare up of PTSD symptoms will cause an individual with both conditions to relapse on their addictions. On the other hand a relapse of their addictions will cause a triggering or flare up of PTSD symptoms. Yet these groups are not treated for both symptoms at the same time which may account for high rates of treatment failure and high rates of relapse.

Both viewpoints omit the similarities in both which they have in common which may lead to improved integrated programs, better mindful recovery methods and enhanced success rates as well as lower relapse rates.


Maybe there are alternative ways to view post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction recovery together by looking at the similarities of both.

1. Symptoms of the process of addiction and PTSD formation are         comparable:
  • Loss of connection with self, partners, family, and community
  • Feeling of emptiness
  • Strong feeling of fear, unsafe and insecurities 
  • Lowered self-worth, esteem, and confidence
  • Negative beliefs of not being good enough, lacking, weak, diseased, damaged
  • Formation of inappropriate and unhealthy connections
  • Denial, anxiety, stress, panic and  worry 
  • Constant flow of negative thoughts and self-talk
  • Strong desire to be loyal to what is destructive and toxic 

2. Habitual involvement in toxic relationships whether with a               person, a group or inanimate object (thought, emotion, 
    behavior or substance) are accompanied by an 
    unwillingness to stop no matter what the cost.

3. Addictions and PTSD are considered long-term conditions.

4. Triggers in survivors are equal to cravings in addicts.

5. Living and holding secrets. Survivors hold and live the secret 
    of what happened and who did it. Addicts keep secrets of 
    their use and how much they use and the frequency.

6. Widely known and proved that exposure to primary or
     secondary abusive, traumatic and combat situations can 
     cause Post-traumatic stress and its symptoms. What is not 
     known is the creation and process of the formation of 
     addiction is an abusive, traumatic and toxic experience, 
     and causes Post-traumatic stress and related symptoms 
     in the user. 

7. Exposure to primary or secondary abusive, traumatic and 
    combat situations alters how a person’s brain and body 
    functions and reacts. The same is true about addictions.
    Addictions also alters how a person’s brain and body 
    functions and reacts.

2 Tips 

The present traditional mode of treating both is not working. Something has to change.

1. Unite the treatment of both addicts and survivors in the same environment.

2. Unify both professional fields would allow the development innovative and customized programs targeted at decreasing the relapse rate and increasing the success rate.  

To learn more visit my website and download my free eBook.

         Coach Bill

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