Drugs, alcohol and trauma: why people use substances to cope with PTSD?

Substances and trauma are old friends. However, it often is a toxic relationship.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that occurs after a trauma. One of the core symptoms of PTSD is avoidance. The last thing anyone wants to do have to trauma is to experience it again. As a result, people avoid thinking about trauma, feeling emotions related to the trauma and anything that reminds them of the trauma. There are many methods that individual use to avoid, but one common method is using substances. Substances often provide a short-lived escape from re-experiencing the trauma and thus why they are so popular. However, substances do not fix the issue, they only push it away.

Problems with using substances to avoid:
– They don’t fix the problem
– They are short lived
– They can create additional traumas
– They are addictive
– You become dependent on them to cope
– Generally physically harmful

In this video Dr. McCleary explains why people use substances to avoid their PTSD symptoms and why it may not be as good of an idea as you might think.

Dr. Harry McCleary is a licensed clinical psychologist and Navy Veteran. His channel is dedicated to educating Veterans, service members and their families about mental health.

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Source: Youtube