Alcohol & drug addiction with ptsd

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I think drugs, and which drugs are a tricky subject when it comes to PTSD.
Simplisticly — I don’t think it could be said better. It’s complicated, whilst individualistic, at the same time. If a person had shifted my heroin to marijuana to aid their symptoms, then that is a massive improvement in the scheme of drug choice. Sure, both will mess you up eventually, but heroin will do it much faster than marijuana. I think self-medicating with pharmaceuticals is as dangerous as hard core narcotics, because who really knows what the hell is in most pharmaceuticals!

Very nice response.


I don’t know if I am giving myself a snow job but here is my story:
At age 22 I had a complete mental breakdown that took 12 years to begin to recover. I was an alcoholic for 16 years but quit 30 years ago, also quit smoking in college. I have also quit pain meds after a spinal fusion.
Now I take a lot of meds. They piled up after diagnosed with ADD 25 years ago, then got panic attacks and I always had agoraphobia and social anxiety. Then hand surgery for arthritis added pain meds back this year. Since the pain won’t subside it’s too easy to stay on them but I need to quit.
I have cut back on anxiety & pain meds 3 times this year, but when I complained of depression my therapist said it always happens when I cut back meds, so I go back to the prescribed dosages. I’m not sure if it was wise.
After EMDR enlightened me of the continuous childhood through adult abuse and rejection I previously denied, this year I became more accident prone, something I had as a child but overcame as an adult. I got much more dangerous through the holidays (which depress me). Seeing things in reality now, I had several disillusioning events over two years so just quit therapy since talking about it makes me depressed, increases dissociating and accidents.
I separate meds in the morning but my attention is bad and I was nervous about a doctor appt. and took 3 doses of pain meds at once. I felt humiliated and guilty.
I am trying to cut back again just to get off the stuff but end up taking the regular dose trying to deflect the depression that got worse after the overdose. Yes it is a spiral.
Ordinary tasks are overwhelming and anything added paralyses me. I lose perspective and get paranoid and decided to just stay in except going to church.
Hospitalizations have been ineffective and increase my anger at inept health workers and paying so much for nothing.
The meds helped for years until bad things started happening because I was more outgoing and wasn’t so intimidated. I learned to defend myself from my husband and others who take advantage of my vulnerability. People do not like it and I have little support. I thought all people cared about the feelings of others and trying to learn different at this age I lack skills, so I take the anxiety meds rather than feel uncontrollable rage all the time.
I’m sure the meds increase the anger as they wear off. My alternative is to keep my mouth shut and withdraw rather than instigate others’ defense mechanisms.


New Here
Can totally relate. When I look back on my life pre diagnosis it is clear now to me that I have been self medicating my entire adult life. I don’t know how else to deal with situations when I’m feeling overwhelmed. My support network is small and I’ve learned not to trust people as they always screw you over in the end or let you down. Alcohol and Cannabis (when i can get it) at least keep me functional when valium just doesn’t cut it. I’ve been on antidepressants in the past but never again. That is the real poison…


First, I totally empathize with anyone who is living with PTSD and concurrent disorders such as depression, addiction, somatization, eating disorders, etc.
Personally, my search and attempts to get help and help myself have spanned over 4 decades of my life. I was mostly discounted, ignored, abandoned, and re-traumatized for the first 30 years. Due to these circumstances I fought with suicidal feelings and urges daily. It was pure hell, emotionally and physically.
I was put on a large number of addictive medications by different doctors. I developed anorexia from childhood bullying, conditioning and inappropriate medical advice by two specialists who believed in “extreme diets for health”. I spent all of the money I ever had trying to recover. Finally, completely broke, exhausted, hopeless, broken totally….I ended up in a shelter. There I saw a sign for a 12 step group. I decided to check it out. I spewed out my life experience at the meetings and after the meetings to anyone who would listen. Thankfully there were several members who understood where I was coming from. They introduced me to a doctor who specialized in addiction and psychiatry. This man truly began the process of saving my life and turning it around. He treated me in his clinic, detox as well as sending me through the treatment program he ran. Following this I attended DRA (Dual Recovery Anonymous) and went to a treatment program for PTSD. I have continued over the past 15 years to learn, get professional support, to participate in the 12 step program and to use local crisis phone lines as needed. I am now 80% better than I was for most of my adult and adolescent life. I never thought this was possible. I know that every person has their own path to living and recovery…I hope my sharing maybe touches someone in a helpful way. Thank you for listening:)

Go Hungry

Though at first I didn’t see the connection, I can now understand how my alcohol use was tied to my traumas. I always drank to get as wasted as possible, at first due to youthful exuberance, but later because I just wanted to forget myself for a while. It eventually started to become a major problem, so one day I just quit. My doctor at the time couldn’t believe it. Actually nobody could believe that I just poured out my rum and never drank again. But it was necessary and so I did it. According to some guys I know, I was very lucky in that I quit just as my dependence was starting to climb. If I had waited another couple of months it would have been much harder. Lay it down while you can.


my traumas are from early childhood to early adulthood. looking back i just had a ghost of ptsd and suppressed everything. id always been a heavy social drinker. when i had a breakdown a few years ago all i could see was everything that happened to me. And this also come with fragments of myself where the events happened. I thought that I was loosing my mind. So tequilla seemed to be the answer.

I switched over to vodka when I got to the point where I drank daily to stop the hangovers. Even worse idea, I ended up drinking 2 bottles a week, 2 liter highest proof there is. I thought I could quit easy when I started, It took 7 tries. Im still on attempt #7 , which is so far a year and 5 months. I still want it now on my worst days. But it made me suicidal and i didnt stop till I was ready to do it. Luckily that night I couldnt even stand up. I have tools now. I know that I have ptsd, im on meds that help me manage, im in therapy, meditation etc. I cant go back to that.


Psychoactive here. Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Mild AUD and Depression with major episodes in October 2014. I’ve struggled with these for the last seventeen years off and on. The last five years have been the worst.

The negatives for me is that I have been to jail for drinking twice. Once was a minor in possession of alcohol and a public intoxication. After I was diagnosed, I got on antidepressants again, was in therapy and doing some heavy self medicating at the time , was woke up with an ammonia inhalant by EMS and the Police and in full panic. I had two choices: Jail or hospital. It was not a great experience. The positive though is that I am a Helluva lot better now. With each time I relapse, it gets easier to deal with and the longer the time is between each one. It’s not easy. It never has been but I do know that it gets easier everyday.

Thanks for posting this article, Anthony. Bookmarked the link.


New Here
In 2013 I have two consecutive motorcycle vs. very large vehicle accidents, people like to run me over. I had been on a combination of loratab and perkeset (I dont know how to spell either one) after the first accident for a full six months, and switched over to Tramadol. I believe that treatment was the “gateway” to the addiction that developed after the second accident. The doctors tried very hard to keep me off medication after the second accident, and I’m to believe that somewhere during the 3-4 month mark after the second accident, I started developing PTSD symptoms, however it’s hard to tell because I was in a very loose environment with a push over boyfriend and I was more often self-medicated than not, completely convinced it was actually necessary due to the amount of pain I was constantly in. For the following 2 years (year 3 after the first accident) I continued that habit, spending most days high and calm, I never -realized- I even had PTSD, I was too out of it to notice the changes in my own behaviour.

However, once I met my current fiance, he changed me for the better. He helped me quit taking the medication (I’ve only just recently begun to accept that I won’t need them again and have successfully thrown them away!) and to stop smoking as well. I then became pregnant, and blamed the symptoms on the pregnancy, however now with the baby almost 2 months old, and some events previously occuring that some might call “triggers” (It’s thunderstorm season, and thunder relates as a trigger with the sound the 7ton truck made that ran me over in the first accident), I have now been able to truly see my PTSD for what it is.

Especially after having a full blown episode at work during a really bad thunderstorm where I was casually rolling silverware and trying to ignore the thunder, when I had a 4-5 second long flashback and slight hallucinogenic episode after a very loud crash of thunder. I was nearly convinced that I was back at the moment of Impact, but my sight came back to me seconds later and my nearby co-worker helped me calm down and control my breathing.

Needless to say.. My drug addictions did nothing but distract me, and put off the inevitable. I had been caging away the memory of the trauma, and now it’s broken free and hitting me all at once. I would have been better off dealing with the symptoms as they developed, instead of suddenly experiencing it full force.

g riff

New Here
I get so tired of people who cannot understand what its like living like this telling me not to drink or take drugs. Intellectually, I completely get where they are coming from, but if they could walk a step in my shoes they’d shut their traps. With us, we are desperately trying to deal, to actually make life work instead of offing ourselves. I got in trouble a year ago from a dui and was forced into a treatment facility to avoid jail where they have a blanket policy about medication and tore me off clonazepam, which might be a bad daily med for someone with a less serious problem, but in my case was 100% warranted. It was no answer but at least did help me…at least better than any other medicine has before and I’ve tried many. Now I drink alcohol and I’m 10x worse off than I was before. I’ve had a terrible time dealing with the anger I’ve felt all year at the smiling gladhappy fux who tried to decide my life while having the luck to not know what I deal with. Good for them but for gods sake why do you feel the need to take away the medicine that slightly helps me cope? It isn’t right.


That’s harsh that they ripped pharmaceuticals from you to help manage PTSD symptoms, just because of a DUI. Honestly, I would have walked and taken my chances with the judge, outlining what they were doing… but that is me.

I will agree… those without PTSD don’t understand, and they may never will. Until you experience something, you really cannot fathom the depth experience provides. I used alcohol for a good decade of my life, and I never removed it, I just tapered myself from being dependent upon it, as I acknowledge that at times it is better for me to help curb anger and anxiety, than taking some daily pharmaceutical with chemicals that were designed to strip paint or such, and should not be consumed within the human body.


I find the issue of drugs so mind boggling. I am a nicotine and caffeine user from youth, like a right of passage in my family I suppose. I use to drink a pot of coffee plus sodas daily. I have a head injury that I think was prior to ptsd. Due to this, a sleep disorder. Anti depressants first line of therapy here in US. When I could not stay awake, then came amphedimines. Due to accident and previous spinal problems, chronic pain I took vicodin a couple times per week with many over the counter such as Aleve. Stomach got tore up so Vicodin increased. By then, developed ptsd with severe anxiety. Put on xanax. Stomach issues interefere with coffee use but drink more soda. Anti depressants have been an unuseful crutch in my opinion and may cause more harm than good. I was taking less than half of what dr prescribed for amphedimines and pain, but taking much xanax for sleep. (all can contribute to depression). Spent a year on waiting list for counseling, then few visits, then insurance change and starting over, etc. So no continuity with counseling in almost 10 yrs. I have got to the point of just survival. Well in March, while in hospital, pulled me off amphedimines, xanax, and pain meds. Kept me for observation for about 4 days, I think they expected withdrawls. I didnt have any. I was in pain, could not sleep well, and goal to go home so I could smoke and have a soft drink. They sent me home and told me to go to an outpatient addiction clinic. When they did intake, they would not let me in, said my insuarnce would not pay. Dr. laughted and said I neglected my drugs and did not abuse them (since I took half or less than prescribed). Where I live, the prescription drug problem is so bad that it caused me to install a safe. (Pharmaciy robbieries and I personally witnessed one)

Now I live in the US, the state with 2nd highest rate of depression , #1 in prescription addiction and drs are being pushed to get patients off these drugs. We also have the worst in patient addiction treatments, send our youth to other states after a 1-2 yr wait list, and suboxin and subutex clinics are opening everywhere.Just as the FDA said oxy would not be addicting because of extended release, they are saying subutex is safe, yet I know people that are getting their meds and injecting them and selling half to those who do not want to get drug sick. We have the highest rate of heroine overdoses per capita. (the drug robbery I witnessed while sitting in traffic was for Subutex.

I never tried medicinal marajuana and street weed I tried and its too unreliable. I have laughed my but off and I have also nodded off-no consistancy. Alcohol makes me sick. I needed a break from the Adderoll (amphedimine) as I woke exhaused and felt like taking it was a false sense of any energy or wakefulness.. I admit I am one of these people who likely need someone to give me permission to take a break to boost my immune system as it caused me to loose 30 lbs in a year and I was already thin. Now ptsd and drugs dont live in a vacuum either, life stressors go on regardless of our wishes. Many things happened since re-evaluation, including the sudden death of my sister and best friend.

The very same shrink that told me to take this stuff now wants to say I am addicted or dependent, but insurance denies treatment because I dont qualify for either. Anyway, I went 2 month without any meds and suffered and stuck it out. Then I took pain med when I could no longer stand it. (I have months of stash except for xanax) Oh they gave me tramadol for pain and adderax for sleep, neither worked. Nothing to wake me up. So since March I have spent about 20 hours a day in bed-now that is depressing. My house is a mess, I havent opened mail in many months, I missed 2 mamograams I failed to wake up for. Then I start feeling suicidal again. I know I will die a premature death. I would like some qualtity of life while I am still here. I can rarely drive witout the damn Adderoll. I leave the house less than 1 time per week for months now. I see nobody, everything is closed when I am awake. Yet they worry I will overdose because of my occassional confussion. But I had a garden, and now I have dead plants. I would move to another state or even country to get thorough commom sense treatment that is not making big pharm rich and me stupider.

The last issue is this, this state in which I live has financially died with coal mines and steel mills. It is true that with the hard labors, many become injured on the job. They go from making 100K per yr to workmans comp and disability. To make ends meet, evedently they began selling half their pain pills to try to make ends meet, getting others addicted. With crack downs on drs, those that were purchasing on street have turned to heroine, which is now the big problem. Yet my sister was told she had GERD and given nothing, misdiagnosed and died 5 wks later with pancreatic cancer. So we have the poverty, much depression, Im sure very high rate of ptsd due to lifestyle (much domestic violence, sexual abuse, incest, combined with poverty). I am so past begging for help from the healthcare that I am ready to turn to the streets. I would be happy to sit in front of a panal of these gladhappy fux to hear their solution, and Im a minor case here.
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