Does PTSD Cause Substance Abuse and Addiction?
Researchers aren’t yet sure why PTSD and substance abuse and addiction are so closely linked, but they do know that people with PTSD seem to be at significantly increase risk for addiction. Theories related to the link between PTSD and addiction include the following: • Susceptibility or Shared Vulnerability — Abusing alcohol or other drugs changes the brain in some way to increase the risks of experiencing PTSD after trauma. Another version of this theory posits that the brains of people who are susceptible to addiction are also more susceptible to PTSD. • Self-Medication — People who are suffering from PTSD symptoms such as fear, insomnia, or hyper-arousal use illicit drugs or alcohol to calm these symptoms or to prevent them from re-occurring. • Risk Theory — People who abuse drugs or alcohol put themselves in dangerous situations and are thus at greater risk for experiencing serious trauma. Scientists speculate that more than one of the above theories may prove valid. Drug Use W