Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Addiction

There are a wide variety of mental and emotional disorders that can occur alongside an addiction, including depression and anxiety disorder. However, post-traumatic stress disorder — also known as PTSD — has one of the highest rates of comorbidity with addiction. But what causes so many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to become addicted? Is there a correlation or causal relationship?

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The human mind is a complex, enigmatic organ. It controls the movement and functioning of the entire body while also facilitating cognition. Being such a complex organ, it follows that there would be a diverse breadth of potential disorders from which the mind could suffer. Of course, many of us gravitate toward things like depression, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder when we consider mental and emotional health disorders; however, there are some disorders that are far more complicated and specific.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that can potentially develop after a person has experienced some type of traumatic event. In practice, post-traumatic stress disorder — often referred to as PTSD for short — entails dysfunction on cognitive and behavioral levels, induced by traumatic events that have occurred long ago. In fact, a person with post-traumatic stress disorder can experience adverse emotional effects years or even decades after the inciting incident.

Research has shown a growing population of individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in a large percentage of the psychological community focusing on this disorder in hope of developing better, more effective ways of treating it. Considering how we’ve found that many individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder eventually develop substance abuse problems, it’s extremely important that we have a thorough understanding of both disorders, how they might relate, and how they can be treated.