Alcohol and Substance Abuse May Worsen PTSD Symptoms

Alcohol and Substance Abuse May Worsen PTSD Symptoms

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) refers to a disorder wherein a person may fail to recover after experiencing a terrifying event. It can trigger anxiety and dreadful memories of the incident. Veterans or people from the armed forces may be at a higher risk of developing PTSD as they are often exposed to life-threatening experiences and tough combat. Millitary services and many other local organisations offer help to veterans to overcome this disorder. However, sometimes they may turn to alcohol and substance abuse

to numb distress and ease the anxiety. But a new study, published in the journal of Traumatic Stress, indicates that such risky behaviour may worsen the symptoms of PTSD.

The study shows that indulging in risky or harmful behaviour can make the situation even more stressful and lead to more trauma. Researchers with the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System assessed more than 200 veterans with PTSD. It was seen that almost three-quarters of the total number of study participants engaged in reckless or self-destructive behaviour at least once in the five years before the study. The most common risky behaviours identified during the study were alcohol or drug use, drunken driving

, gambling and aggression.

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Veterans may have a 50 per cent higher risk of suicide than civilians

The researchers found a link between risky behaviour and severe PTSD symptoms which further shows that such scenarios may be common among veterans who have been exposed to trauma. The findings suggest that many veterans with PTSD continue to experience stressful events that may prolong or worsen their PTSD symptoms even years after the initial trauma. The study shows that veterans not only have a higher chance of developing PTSD, but they may have a 50 per cent higher risk of suicide than civilians.

A great way to vent out all your choked feelings is to exercise. Exercising releases endorphins that can help in improving your mood. Try exercising for 30 minutes every day to burn off some adrenaline and help your nervous system ease out. You can even pursue some outdoor activities like rock climbing, mountain biking and camping to counter your sense of vulnerability and avoid engaging in risky behaviour that may make the situation worse.




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