Human Issue of PTSD and SUD

Human Issue of PTSD and SUD

( – Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is often associated with military and veterans. The truth, however, is that it’s a serious condition for humans in general, and sometimes even animals. It’s usually the result of a traumatic event that extends beyond a person’s ability to cope.

The disorder is often more prevalent among military and ex-servicemen because of what they endure in the line of duty. Police officers also experience PTSD more often than typical civilians for the same reason. People who survive abuse, sexual assault or devastating natural disasters may also develop PTSD.

Limited Help

Many veterans and current servicemen don’t want to ask for help, or they simply can’t find it. This prompts them to find other avenues of comfort, which can lead to the use of drugs and alcohol. Users may start off light, but eventually they build a tolerance and need more and more to achieve the same feeling. This is when the heavy substance use comes in, eventually becoming a substance use disorder, or SUD.

Research has shown that about 46% of people diagnosed with chronic PTSD also meet the criteria for SUD. Many veterans with PTSD also have SUD. The issue with labeling the two as separate conditions, which they are, is that they often don’t affect the person separately. Instead, they go hand in hand, creating a horrible downward spiral. Whether the PTSD brings SUD to a person’s doorstep or the other way around, the two go together like some sort of deadly peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Considering Our Approach

Rand Corporation recently uncovered how these two conditions work together to affect individuals, families and social functioning. Considering Rand’s findings, you can see that these conditions, while technically separate, may need to be treated together. Unfortunately, places that treat PTSD may not treat SUD; when they do, the treatments aren’t always coordinated. In these cases, diagnosing the two conditions as separate entities could limit treatment options.

Until doctors address both issues, we can’t expect sufferers to fully recover, and that’s a shame. PTSD and SUD are serious issues that can devastate lives, and our soldiers deserve better. Hopefully, studies like Rand’s will open the doors to better treatments in the future.

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