PTSD and Substance Use Disorders

June is Post-traumatic stress disorder awareness month. PTSD is a disorder that is commonly associated with war veterans. But, as seen in the infographic below, it can also occur in people who have experienced the sudden death of a loved one, a car accident, or a range of other traumatic events. 

PTSD and substance use disorders can often occur together. Similar events that trigger post-traumatic stress may also drive individuals to cope using chemical substances. One study found a 41% prevalence of lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder among individuals who used heroin. The same study found that individuals with PTSD were more likely to experiment and develop dependencies on a wider range of substances. They also had poorer physical and mental health, but were more likely to be in treatment. This means that treatment centers have a much higher than average proportion of individuals with PTSD, which speaks to the importance of various types of therapy. 

Many informational resources are available online:

National Institute of Mental Health