Is PTSD a Reason to Use Drugs If I’ve Never Used Drugs Before?

Nowadays, more than a few people have experienced some form of trauma, be it in childhood or as an adult. Trauma can take any number of forms, with different people reacting in different ways.

Traumatic experiences also vary in duration, from a single event, such as a car accident, to a day-in, day-out existence, such as domestic abuse. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, develops in cases where a person never really processes or gets past the emotional upheaval brought on by the traumatic event.

When left untreated, the effects of PTSD can drive a person to engage in drug abuse as a way to gain relief from distressing PTSD symptoms. Under these condition, is PTSD a reason to use drugs considering the ongoing duress a person experiences? What if a person never used drugs before and has no history of substance abuse?

While drugs may provide temporary relief from PTSD effects, there are more than a few good reasons not to use drugs to cope with this condition.

PTSD Effects

Is PTSD a Reason to Use Drugs

PTSD sufferers resort to drugs to cope with flashbacks.

According to the Journal of Addiction, PTSD is an anxiety-based disorder that produces three categories of symptoms and/or behaviors:

  • Avoidance-based behaviors – going out of one’s way to avoid reminders of the trauma
  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event over and over again – often takes the form of flashback episodes or nightmares
  • Hypersensitivity – sleep problems, irritability or always being on the alert for danger

Even when a person doesn’t have a history of drug abuse, the temptation to gain relief from PTSD effects can be overwhelming. If you’re considering getting treatment help, but don’t know where to turn, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our phone counselors.

The Drug Abuse Cycle

When asking is PTSD a reason to use drugs, it helps to keep in mind that drug abuse creates a vicious cycle all its own regardless of whether a person has drug abuse history. In effect, addictive substances alter how the brain works over time.

The drug abuse cycle takes shape as the brain becomes more dependent on drugs to function normally. In the process, brain chemical imbalances develop, which causes withdrawal effects and drug cravings to develop and intensify over time.

Is PTSD a Reason to Use Drugs? – Considerations

In the absence of needed treatment help, it’s all too easy to turn to drugs as a source for relief. While the “high” that comes with using drugs may seem like a quick and easy way to cope with PTSD, the emotional distress and anxiety that comes with PTSD actually gets worse with continued drug use.

According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, symptoms of PTSD and drug dependence tend to feed off one another. This means, not only will a person experience more severe PTSD effects, but he or she stands to develop a full-blown addiction within a short period of time compared to someone who doesn’t have PTSD.

Ultimately, not having a history of drug abuse won’t protect you from the downward spiral that results from PTSD and drug use. Rather than trying to cope with PTSD on your own, it’s best to seek out professional treatment help sooner rather than later.

If you have further questions, or need help finding a treatment program, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) .


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