The Link between PTSD and Co-Occurring Disorders

ZS Archives | The Link between PTSD and Co-Occurring Disorders

Many mental health disorders can occur with PTSD due to significant brain functioning changes following a traumatic event that leads to PTSD. Someone struggling with PTSD may experience depression, anxiety or substance use disorders. Let us break down each sub-category and briefly discuss each one on its own.

PTSD and Depression

Depression is a common mental health concern, with approximately 1 in 10 people having some form of depressive disorder every year. Depression is more common among people who experience traumatic events. PTSD and depression frequently co-occur, as people with PTSD are 3 to 5 times more likely to have a depressive disorder.

PTSD and Anxiety

Though now considered a different type of disorder, PTSD was previously categorized as an anxiety disorder. This association was made because PTSD and anxiety disorders share some symptoms, impairing sleep and other essential biological functions. Someone with PTSD-related anxiety may also always feel on edge and be easily startled. Additionally, stress caused by PTSD can make it difficult to concentrate or increase agitation.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

PTSD and substance abuse often co-occur. One study estimates that 46.4 per cent of people with PTSD also meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. PTSD and alcohol use disorders may be more closely related to alcohol’s legality, making it more easily accessible than other substances. A study found that women with PTSD were 2.48 times more likely to misuse alcohol, while men with PTSD were 2.06 times more likely.

PTSD and adjustment disorders

Adjustment disorders occur when the emotional or behavioural symptoms a patient experience in response to the stressor are generally more intense than what would be reasonably expected for the type of event that occurred. The stressor could be a single event or more than one with a cumulative effect. These stressors could affect a single individual or an entire family, typically treated with psychotherapy.

When to seek medical attention:

If left untreated, PTSD can make life’s day to day activities significantly more difficult. Any person that has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event could have difficulty adjusting and coping with those traumatic events. At first, it might seem like a daunting task to ask someone for help, and maybe you don’t want people to know that you have PTSD for fear of being judged or treated differently.

If you’re experiencing any of the problems listed above or think you may struggle with PTSD, get help. If you’re hiding your PTSD from loved ones, try to find a person you trust to talk to about what’s going on.

At ZwavelStream Clinic, we strive to provide our patients with a mixed therapeutic model of psychiatric care to discover a renewed sense of wellness that extends beyond mental health. Our mental health clinic was inspired by the desire to provide a psychiatric unit in an environment that “de-institutionalizes and de-stigmatizes” mental health hospitals.

There’s no shame in seeking treatment for PTSD. It’s an act of great courage to take that first step and reach out. At ZwavelStream Clinic, we provide a safe space for those looking for just this kind of support and guidance.

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