Treating CPTSD and Substance Use Effectively
Complex PTSD and addiction go hand-in-hand more often than you might think or believe. If you live with both a substance use disorder and C-PTSD, how can you get effective treatment for them? Catalina Behavioral Health is a mental health and addiction treatment center that provides trauma-informed care for those with one or both conditions.
This guide will review everything you need to know about complex post-traumatic stress disorder, the correlation between traumatic events and substance abuse, and the potential for getting proven treatment for complex PTSD and addiction with Catalina in Arizona.
About Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a relatively new diagnosis that is not yet in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. However, it is well-known among mental health professionals, and treatment is available for the condition.
Frequently referred to as complex PTSD or C-PTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that occurs when someone experiences continuous trauma. This differs from a standard PTSD diagnosis, which can stem from a single, short-term traumatic event. For example, a natural disaster or car accident. Complex PTSD also tends to come with more severe symptoms.
Examples of traumatic events that frequently lead to complex PTSD include but aren’t limited to prolonged child abuse, war, imprisonment, sex trafficking, repeated sexual assault or sexual abuse, and domestic violence.
Like other mental disorders, a formal diagnosis of complex PTSD must be given by a medical professional, but many people can identify their symptoms personally with either a formal or informal CPTSD Test.
What are the Warning Signs of Complex Trauma?
People with complex PTSD experience common PTSD symptoms but may face additional symptoms related to their trauma. These symptoms can relate to both your physical and mental health and may affect your social life, relationships, work, and other important areas of life and functioning.
In many cases, identifying the signs of C-PTSD in yourself is the first step to reaching out for help and getting treatment.
The mental health-related symptoms of C-PTSD are often the first people notice. Everyone with C-PTSD will experience different symptoms, so it is critical to remember that you do not have to experience every possible symptom of complex PTSD to meet the criteria for the disorder.
With that in mind, mental symptoms of C-PTSD may include but aren’t limited to the following.
- Emotional flashbacks, where you re-experience the emotions associated with an event but not necessarily the event itself
- Flashbacks or stressful memories, which can be so vivid that you feel as though you’re relieving the event
- Trouble with emotional regulation (also called emotion regulation)
- Negative thoughts toward yourself, others, or the world
- Difficulty showing or feeling positive emotions
- Social isolation or withdrawal from others
- Challenges in interpersonal relationships
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Difficulty relaxing
- Reckless behavior
- Low self-esteem
- Memory loss
Complex PTSD can severely impact your self-perception. With treatment from experienced clinicians like the ones at Catalina Behavioral Health, a person can overcome the impacts of prolonged trauma on their self-perception and other parts of their life.
Physical reactions often occur when memories or reminders of traumatic experiences arise. Long-term trauma can also lead to a higher risk of an extensive range of physical health conditions, including chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and high blood pressure.
Physical symptoms of C-PTSD may include but aren’t limited to the following.
- Gastrointestinal problems (e.g., nausea, stomach pain)
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Rapid heartbeat
- Body aches
Some of the above symptoms can be associated with other physical and mental health conditions, so seeing a medical or mental health treatment provider like those at Catalina Behavioral Health for an adequate assessment is vital.
Traumatic Events and Substance Abuse
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), substance use and other mental health concerns are associated with trauma. In other words, trauma survivors are statistically more likely to face substance use disorders and other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and of course, PTSD or C-PTSD.
Furthermore, substance abuse and other untreated mental health concerns or conditions can seriously impact all areas of your life, including but not limited to your occupation, interpersonal relationships, and physical health.
The self-medication hypothesis suggests that many people who experience trauma use substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs to cope with emotional pain and other symptoms. In this case, it is vital to treat not just the addiction but to address underlying trauma as well.
Not only is healing vital for those who have experienced a traumatic event, but it’s something every person who has experienced one or more traumatic events deserves. For many people, attending a treatment center with specialized trauma programs is the avenue to healing from traumatic events.
Treating C-PTSD and Addiction Effectively
We use a combination of specialized, evidence-based treatments to provide clients like you with a comprehensive approach to C-PTSD and addiction care. Based on research, we know that it is possible to heal from complex PTSD.
For example, research on EMDR therapy for C-PTSD shows that many clients fully recover after completing the process. Decades of research in the field of clinical psychology and addiction also show that successful addiction treatment is possible, both for those who have and have not experienced trauma.
Our Programs to Treat CPTSD and Addiction at Catalina Behavioral Health
Your specific treatment plan will depend on who you are and what you need. If you are seeking help for alcohol and drug abuse alongside C-PTSD, for example, you may have a different treatment plan than a client without a substance use disorder.
Treatments used in our complex PTSD treatment programs may include but aren’t limited to the following.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Motivational interviewing
- Medication management
- Holistic treatments
- Exposure therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
Based on a person’s progress, their treatment plan may change throughout their program. At Catalina Behavioral Health, you will work closely with your treatment team to build a plan and modify treatment as needed as time goes on.
Catalina Behavioral Health’s C-PTSD Programs
Our Complex PTSD inpatient program treats trauma symptoms and co-occurring conditions relevant to the individual, such as a substance use disorder. At Catalina Behavioral Health, those who seek treatment get an intake assessment that helps their care team understand and address the full spectrum of mental health concerns they experience.
We offer the following levels of care or programs at Catalina Behavioral Health’s mental health and addiction treatment facilities in Arizona. If you aren’t sure which level of care is best for you when you enter treatment, our team can help you decide.
Residential Trauma Treatment
Residential treatment is the highest or most intensive level of care used in mental health and addiction treatment. During residential treatment for complex trauma or any other mental health concern, you are required to eat, sleep, and live at your treatment center for the duration of your program. A standard day in treatment will entail engaging in a range of treatment activities.
Depending on your care plan, this may involve a combination of individual counseling, groups, medication management, life skills workshops, holistic treatments, and more. For most people, residential treatment lasts somewhere from 28 days to six months.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are the second most intensive form of treatment used for mental health and addiction. Rather than live at your treatment facility, PHP clients get to go home at the end of the day. In PHP, you should expect to participate in treatment activities 6-8 hours per day, five days a week.
PHP is ideal for clients who cannot attend residential treatment or need a less restrictive environment than residential trauma treatment but need more support than an intensive outpatient program can provide. Like residential treatment, PHP at Catalina Behavioral Health may involve a combination of individual therapy, groups, medication management, life skills workshops, holistic treatments, and other activities.
Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are one step below PHP. Like in PHP, you may work with professionals for various treatments, such as individual therapy, groups, medication management, life skills workshops, holistic treatments, and other activities in IOP.
Even so, you will spend fewer hours per week in treatment as an IOP client. IOP is an ideal option for those who need less intensive care or must fulfill responsibilities such as work, school, or caring for their family while in treatment. It can also be used as a step-down form of care for those who have completed a residential or partial hospitalization program.
Discontinuing the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and other substances can be uncomfortable. In some instances, it may even be dangerous. Medical detoxification helps people facing substance abuse get off of drugs and alcohol safely and with less discomfort. In medical detoxification programs, also called “detox,” clients get 24/7 medical supervision and support.
Sometimes, a treatment team might prescribe medication to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. You may attend detox if you are one of the many people with both a substance use disorder and a trauma history. Detox can be but is not always a precursor to another level of care, like residential care or PHP.
Those with mental health illnesses do not require medical detox, but a period of mental health stabilization can be helpful, to assess the nature of the distress and the efficacy of any current medications.
Aftercare and Alumni Services
Those who have completed a treatment program often find that they benefit greatly from our aftercare and alumni services. This is largely because aftercare and alumni services allow you to continue to connect with a strong support system after treatment.
Catalina Behavioral Health offers a range of support options for those who have completed treatment with us, including but not limited to support groups and sober social gatherings.
Reach Out to Catalina for Dual Diagnosis Programs Today
Sustained recovery from C-PTSD and substance abuse is possible. Catalina Behavioral Health is a mental health and substance abuse treatment center located in Arizona that can help you heal from substance abuse, trauma, and other mental health concerns.
Our staff members are here to answer any questions you have about treatment or verify your health insurance coverage for free. To get in touch with Catalina Behavioral Health, give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website. If we miss your initial call or message, we’ll return it shortly.
All calls are kept strictly confidential, so please reach out in confidence for our support today!
FAQs on Complex PTSD and Addiction
Is there a correlation between PTSD and addiction?
Yes. There is a correlation between PTSD and addiction. Extensive research shows that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or who have experienced past trauma are more likely to experience substance abuse problems than the general population.
This is part of why trauma-informed care is so vital in addiction treatment spaces. Those who have survived repeated trauma or endured a prolonged period of trauma, as seen in people who meet the criteria for complex PTSD, might be at an even higher risk.
How do I stop being triggered by CPTSD?
Getting treatment for complex PTSD is the best way to reduce the distressing symptoms that can come with the condition. A successful recovery process can take time, so it is necessary to be patient with yourself.
Therapies such as EMDR are shown to have a high success rate for those with PTSD. Catalina Behavioral Health uses a combination of treatments to address trauma and complex PTSD fully.
What are the top 3 forms of trauma that lead to addiction?
Trauma is one of several major risk factors that can increase the likelihood of someone developing an addiction. Certain life events are associated with an even higher risk of substance abuse than others.
Childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse are three types of trauma associated with higher rates of addiction, but anyone who has experienced trauma may notice lasting effects. If this is true for you, it is important that you seek treatment.