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.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD

Creative PTSD

Creative arts therapies for PTSD include art, music, drama, and body oriented therapies. These creative art therapies for PTSD are different techniques that all believe that thoughts and feelings about trauma are represented without verbal descriptions or using words to describe the actual event. Auditory and visual actions are used to symbolize the pain and suffering that can result from PTSD, for instance fear, horror, loneliness and distrust. The process of merely expressing oneself is more important than the finished product in creative arts therapy for PTSD.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD – Arts Therapies

Art therapies involve patients using something like painting, drawing or collage to represent their feelings or emotions related to the trauma. The creative art can also be used as a jumping off point to begin talking about the traumatic experiences to a therapist or group. Art therapy is great for allowing people to know they are not alone in their anger and grief and also showed them that they can tolerate the emotions that are connected with the memories of the trauma.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD – Music Therapies

Music therapies get patients to use music in different ways in order to facilitate emotional expression in a very lighthearted and easygoing environment. Some music therapies would be playing music, beating a drum, listening to and sharing songs. Playing music allows patients with PTSD to learn how to self-regulate emotions and form connections with others. Music therapy that involve listening to music are good starting points for discussions based on the thoughts that come to mind while listening to the music.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD – Drama Therapies

Drama therapies create a safe and playful environment where patients can act out any anxiety or conflict they may be feeling due to their PTSD. The goal of drama therapy is to bring out a patient’s emotions and provide a starting point for which their anxiety can be expressed and the stigma of those emotions can be removed. Drama therapies allow patients to act out confrontations or the traumatic event in a safe and comfortable place.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD – Dance and Body Movement Therapies

Dance and body movement therapies believe that negative emotional experiences are represented in the body in the form of tension and pain. So PTSD must be processed physically with movement and dance. With dance and movement the unconscious conflicts can become more aware. Dance and body movement therapies usually begin with relaxing the patient and then slowly increasing the movement. Some examples of body movement therapies can also include acupuncture, where negative memories are stored, or tapping of the body to relieve stress and to create balance in the patient’s life.

Creative Arts Therapy for PTSD – Nature Therapies

Nature therapies involve a bunch of different activities that include relaxing and creative approaches that involve nature. Some examples of nature therapies would be gardening and wilderness expeditions.

There are many creative arts therapies for PTSD and all of them work in helping with the symptoms associated with PTSD. How effective creative arts therapies for PTSD are really depends on the unique circumstance and the unique person. One person might respond better to painting and another to playing music.

Source:

http://www.artandhealing.org/wp-content/uploads/PTSD-SMYTH_NOBEL_White_Paper_NOV-2012.pdf