Here we are- ready to celebrate the coming New Year. There will be many parties and lots of booze flowing freely. But for those folks who are afflicted with PTSD, drinking alcohol to excess can cause big trouble for the trauma survivor and his/her family.
From an excellent article titled “PTSD and Problems with Alcohol Use” found on the National Center for PTSD website, we learn that:
“Up to three quarters of those who have survived abusive or violent trauma report drinking problems. They are at risk even if they do not have PTSD. Women with drinking problems are more likely than other women to have been sexually abused at some time in their lives. Both men and women who have been sexually abused have higher rates of alcohol and drug problems than others.”
Sixty to eighty percent of Vietnam Veterans seeking PTSD treatment have alcohol use problems. War veterans with PTSD and alcohol use problems tend to be binge drinkers. Binges may be in response to memories of trauma. Veterans over the age of 65 with PTSD are at higher risk for a suicide attempt, if they also have drinking problems or depression.
These are really shocking statistics. And as the article also points out, alcohol can actually make PTSD symptoms worse. The experts state “You may drink because using alcohol can distract you from your problems for a short time. You should know, though, that drinking makes it harder to concentrate, be productive, and enjoy all parts of life. Problems with alcohol are linked to a confused and disorderly life.”
I’m of the Vietnam generation and I know too well the hell that alcohol abuse in a loved one can cause. I’ve seen up close and personal the effects of chemical insanity on the one who abuses substances, the distorted thinking that goes along with it, and the ensuing, miserable effects on the family. Fortunately, I now know the peace that can come with a life of sobriety. It’s a hard-won battle, but well worth the price.
To read the whole article and to learn about the most effective treatment patterns for those with PTSD and alcohol abuse, go to: