PTSD and Alcohol

When you have PTSD, anxiety and depression are your constant companions.  The pain of life altering trauma can stay with you, day in and day out, making it hard to function and live in a normal way.  Everyone in this situation can become desperate for some relief.  There are many healthy ways to help yourself cope with this disease.

Unfortunately, some are so desperate to end the pain, they turn to alcohol to self medicate and numb themselves. While, to some, this may feel like their only option, the reality is that alcohol doesn’t just not make things better – it actually makes things a lot worse.

Alcohol is a depressant, a downer. Rather than helping you recover from the PTSD, it can actually trigger more symptoms. Alcohol can increase the anger, irritability, depression, lashing out – some of the aspects of PTSD that cause trauma survivors to push away and lose many of their social supports right when they need them the most.

If you feel that you have become reliant on alcohol to mask your PTSD, there is still help!  Therapeutic and holistic approaches to alcohol recovery and PTSD treatment have great results. Some treatment options you may want to look into are:

  • Group counseling
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Equine or other animal therapy
  • Art or music therapy

Of course, these are just supports that you can use to help you in your recovery.  Anyone suffering from PTSD, especially if they are also using alcohol, should be in regular therapy with a licensed counselor and may want to talk to a psychiatrist to see if there are medications that may be able to help. Don’t self medicate!  There is help out there for you!

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