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PTSD and Mental Health

black and white image of man covering his face in despair

When it comes to looking after and understanding your mental health, there are many avenues to explore and learn about. As an individual, it is important to realize that there can be many contributing factors that will impact the condition of your overall mental health, and many conditions that can coexist. It is important to understand what these are so you can seek the right treatment and support. 

One mental health condition is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can occur after a traumatic event and can have a direct impact on your mental health. It is also a condition that is commonly known to coexist with other disorders. 

Over the recent years, there has been a much larger focus on people’s mental health, how it affects day-to-day life, and what can be done to help live with a different variety of trauma, or disorders no matter what kind of lifestyle you lead. This has helped more people seek the help and support they need. Read on to learn more about mental health, and specifically, PTSD. 

How Does PTSD Affect Your Mental Health?

When it comes to PTSD, those who have to deal with it will generally relive traumatic experiences that they went through during their life in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. Unfortunately, these memories can even be brought on, or triggered through, certain interactions that may be encountered during the day. These triggers can be anything from sounds, smells, sights, or even some phrases that are spoken. As you can imagine, when something as significant as this happens to you involuntarily, and is completely out of your control, the effect that it will have on your mental health will be quite substantial. 

Not only will PTSD affect a person’s mental health by forcing them to relive these horrible experiences, but the constant barrage will inevitably take a toll on their ability to function properly. A person with PTSD will often have trouble sleeping, become irritable, experience feelings of guilt, and will become isolated in an attempt to try and limit any damaging exposure to triggers, or other people. Needless to say, all of this will eventually have a negative impact on a person’s mental health and can often lead to other mental health struggles, such as addiction. PTSD can be difficult to deal with on a normal day, but can also be exacerbated if you live with a pre-existing condition. 

Statistics On Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring mental health disorders are common. In some cases, you may have had a pre-existing condition prior to experiencing a traumatic event that led to PTSD. In other cases, your experience and symptoms of PTSD may be the cause of a new mental health condition. It is important to remember that everyone’s experiences will differ. The most common co-occurring disorders among those with PTSD are anxiety, depression, and addiction. 

It is estimated that 5% of adults in the U.S. have PTSD in any given year, with 1 in 10 adults also suffering from depression. It is also estimated that of those who live with lifetime PTSD, 46.4% also suffer from substance use disorder (SUD). Anxiety is a disorder that is commonly associated with PTSD as their symptoms are similar, so they are difficult to report on separately. It is suggested that over 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder. 

PTSD & Anxiety

If a person with PTSD also suffers with anxiety, then this has the potential to rapidly cause a downward spiral in the way that they live their life. Anxiety occurs when you experience intense and prolonged feelings of fear, uncertainty, unease, or anxiousness. Many people will experience anxiety at one point in their life, most commonly before something like an exam, or an unusual/exciting experience. 

For those who are diagnosed with anxiety, these feelings are often more common, and can be a factor in situations as simple as going to a crowded store to buy groceries. If you combine anxiety with the potential flashbacks and triggers that can occur if you also have PTSD, then as you can imagine, this is not going to be the most pleasant way to experience life. Anxiety could be something that you lived with prior to the traumatic event that caused PTSD, or could be something new that is developed as a result of living with PTSD.

PTSD & Addiction

People with PTSD will often look for a way to help ease, cover, mask, or deal with their reactions and triggers. Sadly, a choice that many people feel is the only option is through either drug or alcohol use. This inevitably will lead to addiction, which is where a person becomes so reliant on a substance that they feel that it is the only thing that helps them function. Even if you have no prior experiences with addiction, it can be easy to fall off track and become addicted if you are trying to deal with something as difficult as PTSD. Addiction is a mental health disorder that can be problematic. Addiction can be a preexisting condition, or a disorder that develops with PTSD. 

PTSD & Depression

Another diagnosis that is common to see alongside PTSD, is depression. Depression is characterized as a mental illness whereby a person will experience long periods of extremely low moods, and often find themselves lacking any energy, motivation, or interest in doing anything productive. Depression can come about as a byproduct of having PTSD, or may have been a struggle prior to developing PTSD. 

Recognizing Symptoms of PTSD

Like with anything in life that needs to be addressed, it is important to be able to identify and recognize the symptoms of PTSD so that you, or the person in question, may then start their journey of seeking help. So, if you or someone that you know are showing any of the following signs, it’s advisable to seek further advice. Some common symptoms of PTSD include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeling easily frightened or startled
  • Irritability, or aggressive outbursts that are uncharacteristic
  • Trouble sleeping or night terrors
  • Feelings of sadness, anger, and denial
  • Noticing self-destructive behavior
  • Having flashbacks, or getting triggered by certain events
  • Suffering with unknown feelings of guilt or numbness
  • Being withdrawn, and isolating yourself from others

You may also notice physical symptoms such as unexplained nausea, headaches, profuse sweating, digestive issues, or even a complete change in appetite and sleeping patterns. The bottom line is that if you feel as if you are struggling, and notice drastic changes to yourself emotionally as well as physically, that you reach out and ask for help as soon as you can.

Treatment Options

If you are struggling with PTSD and your mental health, then it is important to know that you are not alone and that help is available. There are many programs and treatment options available to help you with your overall mental health to help you regain and build upon your quality of life. Depending on your unique situation and the co-occurring conditions that you have, the available treatment options may include:

  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Sober living residences 

Contact us today to learn about the available treatment options and support that we provide for PTSD and mental health.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.