Alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD are often found together. And the combination or pairing of alcohol and PTSD can cause a lot of problems for the trauma survivor and their family. Alcohol and PTSD go hand in hand, with PTSD are more likely than others with the same sort of background to have drinking problems. And on the other hand, people with drinking problems often will have PTSD. Those with PTSD have more problems with alcohol both before and after getting PTSD. And then PTSD also increases the risk that someone could develop a drinking problem. Alcohol and PTSD really come together and make a vicious cycle.

Alcohol and PTSD: Women

Women who go through trauma have more risk for alcohol abuse. They are at risk for alcohol abuse even if they do not have PTSD from their trauma. Women that have problems with alcohol abuse are more likely than other women to have been sexually abused at some time in their lives. This could apply to both men and women though. Both men and women who have been sexually abuse have higher rates of alcohol and drug use problems than others.

Nearly three quarters of people who survived abusive or violent trauma report having alcohol problems. Up to a third of those who survive traumatic accidents, illness, or disasters report alcohol problems and alcohol problems are more common for survivors who have ongoing health issues or are dealing with pain.

Alcohol and PTSD: Vets

Sixty to eighty percent of Vietnam Veterans that are searching for PTSD treatment have alcohol use problems. War veterans with PTSD and alcohol issues tend to be huge binge drinkers. Binges may be in response to memories of trauma. Veterans over the age of 65 with PTSD are at a high risk for suicide or suicide attempts and also suffer alcohol problems or depression.

Alcohol makes PTSD symptoms worse

Someone who has alcohol and PTSD may drink alcohol to distract themselves from their problems for a short amount of time. Even though alcohol only makes it harder in the long run.

Someone with PTSD may drink to concentrate, be productive, and enjoy parts of their life.

Using too much alcohol makes it harder for someone with PTSD to cope with stress and trauma memories. Alcohol use and getting drunk can make some PTSD symptoms increase. For instance symptoms of PTSD that can get worse are feelings of being cut off from others, anger and irritability, depression and the feeling of being on guard.

Some people with PTSD have trouble falling asleep. If this is the case they may medicate themselves with alcohol to try and get a good night’s rest. This is also very true if the person with PTSD has bad nightmares. They may drink so they have fewer dreams and can avoid the bad memories. All of this just prolongs the PTSD.

Having both alcohol and PTSD problems can compound the two. For this reason alone, the alcohol use and PTSD must be treated together. If an individual has PTSD they should try to find a place they can go that specializes in both.

Private rehab vs. State Funded Rehab

Private rehab vs. State Funded Rehab

The term “rehab” is short for the word rehabilitation and refers to a facility that offers treatment for drug abuse and addiction. Rehab sometimes includes a medical detox program that serves the purpose of helping alcohol- and drug-dependent people to ease completely off substances with less discomfort than going cold turkey, or stopping abruptly.  Another part of rehab is the inpatient program. This part of treatment involves therapy that addresses drug addiction behaviors and coping mechanisms to utilize in a sober lifestyle.

Funding

There are two types of rehabs: private rehab and state funded rehab. The main difference between these is the way in which the programs are funded.

Private rehab provides services by being funded either by out-of-pocket payment by the patient or by the patient’s health insurance plan. If you have private insurance through your employer or through your spouse’s or another family member’s employer, then more than likely you can attend a private rehab that is in-network with that plan and only have to pay a deductible, if the plan requires it. Some plans do not even have a deductible in which case you can attend a private rehab with no out-of-pocket cost to you.

State funded rehab is just that: its services are able to exist and be provided to those who cannot afford to pay for rehab or who do not have insurance with support of state funding through tax revenue and/or grants.

Services and Amenities

Another way in which private rehab and state funded rehab differs is in the quality and extent of the services that they provide.

Usually, private rehab offers many more amenities that can make your stay more comfortable. A private rehab provides a resort-like atmosphere with some “extras” besides room, board, and therapy. Oftentimes, they offer spa experiences, yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and so on.

State funded rehab provides adequate services that can help anyone get sober who is willing to do the work. It may not be as cushy as private rehab but it is sufficient and meets high standards of quality of care.

Types of Therapy

Both private rehab and state funded rehab offers therapy for substance abuse and addiction however, the type and intensity of the therapy differ between the two.

Private rehab offers alternative and holistic therapies such as Native American sweat lodges, music and art therapy, hypnotherapy, massage therapy, to name only a few. Private rehab also offers the industry standard of cognitive behavioral therapies in both one-on-one and group sessions.

State funded rehab also offer the widely accepted therapy approaches for substance abuse and addiction but often therapy sessions are in group settings because of funding and the growing demand for treatment by more and more people.

 

Other Considerations: Private Rehab vs. State Funded Rehab

You must be careful to do your research when considering a private rehab. Just because it is private does not mean that it is legitimate or accredited.

Because they must answer to state government and therefore taxpayers, state funded rehabs are strictly regulated. With state funded rehabs, at least you can be sure that treatment is uniform and meets industry standards.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.drugabuse.gov/

http://en.wikipedia.org

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy technique that is often used in the treatment of PTSD and phobias, but exposure therapy is also used in addiction treatment. Exposure therapy in addiction treatment works the same way it does when it is used to treat PTSD and phobias.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment, just like when it is used for patients with PTSD, is intended to help the patient face and gain control of their addiction. The way exposure therapy in addiction treatment does this is by literally exposing the addict or alcoholic to certain fears, triggers, traumas and stressors. Exposure therapy is done carefully so as not to flood the patient but rather build up to the most severe stressors. The point of this exposure therapy is to desensitize the addict or alcoholic to potential stressors and triggers.

There are many studies that point towards alcoholics and addicts having automatic responses to cues such as seeing as alcohol or places they may have used. Much like when someone who is hungry sees food wants to eat they believe that the alcoholic responds to alcohol in the same way. So in order to combat this exposure therapy in addiction treatment, literally exposes the alcoholic to cues that would normally create a response or want to drink in the alcoholic and gives the alcoholic or addict coping methods or techniques to use to combat and eventually no longer respond in the old way they used to.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment is a very new concept that doesn’t have a lot of proof of effectiveness to back it up. The rates of relapse after someone has been through exposure therapy have not been studied. While exposure therapy for PTSD has been effective for the treatment of trauma and stress there has been no proof that it will work in addiction treatment. In fact, exposure therapy in addiction treatment could end up having the opposite effect, instead of helping actually hurting the alcoholic.

In one study this is what they had to say about exposure therapy in addiction treatment:

“There continues to be little evidence for the superior efficacy of Cue Exposure Therapy (CET) over other forms of substance abuse treatment. However, it should be emphasized that the efficacy trials did not find CET to be ineffective; indeed CET subjects improved significantly from baseline, though these improvements did not differ from the other active treatment conditions.”

And of course there are all the other problems that anyone who is in the addiction treatment field knows: “Studies investigating Cue Exposure Therapy continue to be challenged by a number of methodological problems, including small sample sizes, high dropout rates, lack of objective measures of substance use and lack of procedures for preventing substance use between extinction sessions.”

The truth about addiction and alcoholism most likely is that any kind of addiction treatment is better than no treatment at all. But when it comes to treating alcoholism and addiction, in my opinion, how can you possibly expect an alcoholic to want to stop drinking by exposing them to things that make them want to drink; even with the better tools to cope with it etc.

http://www.benthamscience.com/open/toaddj/articles/V003/SI0055TOADDJ/92TOADDJ.pdf

 

Therapy for Families of Drug Addicts

What is the importance of therapy for families of drug addicts?

First, it is the family that often recognizes the problem before their addicted loved one is ready to acknowledge or get help for his or her addiction. Secondly, chances for sustained recovery increase dramatically when families are involved, as addiction reaches far beyond the individual.

There are two basic types of therapy for families of drug addicts: family education and family-involved therapy. Most substance abuse treatment programs perceive the importance of educating families of drug addicts on what addiction is. It is important for the loved ones of the addict to understand that addiction is not merely an issue of willpower; it is a brain disease that affects addicts in such a way that they are unable to stop using drugs despite negative, even devastating consequences, and despite them having the desire to stop.

Educational therapy for families of drug addicts

In educational therapy for families of drug addicts, families identify the ways in which addiction has affected the family relationships and are introduced to resources that can lend support while their addicted loved one undergoes individual treatment. There are support groups such as Al-Anon, Alateen, and Families Anonymous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence provide information, assistance, and access to publications regarding drug abuse.

Family therapy for families of drug addicts

Family therapy is therapy for families of drug addicts that involves a collection of therapeutic approaches. The purpose of therapy for families of drug addicts is two-fold: first, it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without substances of abuse. Second, it diminishes the impact of drug dependency on both the addict and his or her family.

In family therapy, the goal of treatment is to meet the needs of all family members. Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses the interdependent nature of family relationships and how these relationships serve the addict and other family members, in both positive and negative ways.

The foundation of therapy for families of drug addicts is the belief in family‐level assessment and intervention. In addressing therapy for families of drug addicts, it is key to recognize that a family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Accordingly, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts. The focus of therapy for families of drug addicts is to intervene in these complex relational patterns, the family unit and its interrelationships, and to alter them in ways that bring about productive change for the entire family. Therapy for families of drug addicts rests on the systems perspective. As such, changes in one part of the system can and do produce changes in other parts of the system, and these changes can contribute to either problems or solutions.

 

Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses a range of influences on the addict’s drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning. In this way, therapy for families of drug addicts serves as a crucial support to the success of their loved one’s recovery.

Sources:

www.drugabuse.gov

www.nih.gov

www.hhs.gov

 

 

Online therapist for alcohol addiction

Online therapist for alcohol addiction

An online therapist for alcohol addiction sounds like a great idea, but is it really? Yes, an online therapist may be convenient and in some instances cheap, but are you really getting the quality of therapy you may need to treat something as serious as an alcohol addiction. It all really depends on how much therapy is needed and the severity of your alcohol addiction. An evaluation of your alcohol addiction will definitely need to be done in order to determine if this very light level of care will work for you. Such an evaluation can be done online, leading to recommendations for the appropriate treatment.

So who can use or benefit from an online therapist for alcohol addiction help?

People who are already involved in any stage (intensive outpatient, continuing care, aftercare) of traditional treatment program or have completed any stage of a traditional treatment program can use online therapy as a way supplement their treatment.

So what is wrong with an online therapist for alcohol addiction?

1. By its nature, online therapy can be interrupted by technological difficulties beyond the control of either the counselor or the client, for instance, a storm or just a random modem problem. Is your mental health really going to rely on an internet connection? Before services are provided, the client will be given suggestions for alternative methods for contacting the online therapist should disruptions in the client’s service occur (for ex., a public library). The online therapist should pledge that should technical difficulties result from his/her personal computer or other internet access the online therapist will have alternative internet access readily available.

2. The visual and auditory cues available during face-to-face online therapy are, of course, not available in internet counseling. Therefore, it is vital that both the client and the online therapist be diligent in seeking clarification of any communications, as needed. And making sure that everything is well understood and talked about.

3. The online therapist for alcohol addictions must at the outset of the online therapeutic relationship help the client to identify local therapists and other treatment providers, including crisis services in the event of an emergency. Most of the time therapists give their phone number to clients or clients can rush to see them should something happen. With an online therapist for alcohol addiction there is no personal connection like that in the event something goes wrong in the client’s life.

4. The online therapist for alcohol addiction must include safeguards to keep client information confidential and protected from unauthorized access. This is always an unknown when using the Internet. Client information, including history, diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and progress notes, should be for the online therapist’s eyes only. No one else must have access to this information. The information should be retained on a safeguarded CD for one year after the online therapy relationship has ended, or for a longer or shorter period of time dictated by the client.

Therapy is very much a relationship between the therapist and client. With an online therapist for alcohol addiction that relationship is not nearly as strong or as helpful for either one. You would never have a romantic relationship entirely based online for years or even months. So why do the same with a therapist? Online therapists for alcohol addiction may be a great last resort for those who just need a little extra advice here and there but for someone who is really depending on therapy this sounds like a terrible idea

Alcohol Abuse Therapy

One of the most important, difficult and intricate areas of mental health is in the field of alcoholism and addiction. Research has indicated that a vast majority of people who have alcohol abuse problems or drug abuse problems, have an underlying mental illness or significant emotional/psychological difficulty and about half of people with mental illness will be involved with drugs or alcohol at some point, usually as a form of self-medication. Alcohol abuse is difficult to treat, and there is still a good bit of controversy about causes and best approaches to alcohol abuse therapy. The goal of alcohol abuse therapy is to achieve lifelong abstinence. Among alcoholics with otherwise good health, social support and motivation the likelihood of recovery is very good with alcohol abuse therapy. Alcohol abuse therapy can begin only when the alcohol accepts that the problem exists and agrees to stop drinking. Alcohol abuse therapy has three stages of detoxification, rehabilitation and maintenance. Alcohol abuse therapy helps with all three stages; mainly rehabilitation and maintenance. Alcohol abuse therapy can include recommendations such as to avoid people places and things that make drinking seem fun etc, joining a self help group, enlisting the help of family and friends, replacing negative dependence on alcohol with a new hobby or work, and exercise. All of these are alcohol abuse therapy in order to help the alcoholic achieve permanent abstinence.

Alcohol abuse therapy is focused on modifying maladaptive behavior. People who misuse drugs and alcohol usually do so as a way of coping with experiences, memories or events that emotionally overwhelm them. Even if they had developed the proper coping strategies, people who have problems with alcohol abuse rely on the immediate gratification of the drugs and alcohol rather than facing the issues at hand. Alcohol abuse therapy which specializes in alcohol and addiction recovery will help a client set achievable short term goals in order to empower the client. Once sobriety from alcohol abuse is achieved, healthy and adaptive skills can be taught and developed and the client and the therapist can begin to explore the issues that led to the alcohol abuse and addiction, employing the new coping strategies. Together, the client and therapist will work to set longer term goals that include rebuilding damaged relationships, accepting responsibility and releasing guilt. A skilled therapist can help someone with alcohol abuse problems overcome their addiction or alcoholism and set them on the path of achieving the life they truly desire. This is what alcohol abuse therapy is all about. Quitting alcohol abuse can be extremely difficult and it can also be dangerous.