PTSD and Substance Use: Overcoming Dual Diagnosis after Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a traumatic experience that affects millions of men and women every single year. Since the majority of abuse cases happen behind closed doors and do not get reported, however, the number is thought to be chillingly higher.

Domestic violence can assume many different forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, psychological (mental) and even financial. It can happen to men and women of any age, race, religion, educational background, as well as to those of every social and economic standing.

Those who experience abuse are known to be at a high risk for developing a wide range of physical and mental health conditions or disorders in response to the trauma. Two of the most common symptoms are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorder which, when they occur simultaneously, are known as a dual diagnosis.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance abuse that have developed as a direct result of domestic violence.

Effects of domestic violence

Individuals who suffer from domestic violence can experience a wide range of symptoms, the severity of which will depend on different personal factors.

Some PTSD symptoms from domestic violence include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Reproductive health issues
  • Mental health conditions
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Suicidal thoughts, behaviors or actions

For those who have developed a dual diagnosis, they are suffering from both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder or addiction.

Domestic violence and dual diagnosis

Individuals suffering from domestic violence have a high chance of developing multiple conditions, disorders or illnesses as a direct result of the abuse. 

Helping individuals through dual diagnosis recovery spans far more than just treating them for a month or two in a rehabilitation center. People who have experienced domestic violence are carrying a heavy trauma with them that often requires additional treatment outside of rehab.

Treatment for dual diagnosis

There is no one-size-fits-all form of care when it comes to treating dual diagnosis in individuals who have suffered from domestic violence. 

While dual diagnosis conditions used to be treated separately, we now know how closely connected and highly influential mental health care is to an individual’s recovery. Whether that recovery is from domestic violence, addiction or both. 

Dual diagnosis treatment plans can vary slightly per rehabilitation center, but for the majority of the time, they will be composed of the below commonalities:

  • Medical detox
  • Inpatient rehabilitation
  • Therapy and counseling
  • In some instances, medication
  • Support groups
  • Supportive sober housing

Abusive situations can be difficult to navigate, and if the abuse victim is still living with or closely involved with the perpetrator, it’s highly unlikely that treatments will be effective or long-lasting. 

When a condition has developed as a result of domestic violence, it’s only going to be able to be resolved to a certain degree while the individual is still living in the circumstance that triggered the condition in the first place.

Dual diagnosis recovery is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. With the right rehabilitation program, environment and support team, you absolutely can permanently overcome both.

Start your recovery today

Here at Bluff Augusta, we specialize in personalized, evidence-based treatment that’s design to help you recover not only in the short-term, but equip you with the tools to maintain long-term sobriety and foster a sustainably positive mental state.

We believe the key to successfully treating dual diagnosis is comprehensive, integrated care — in other words, treating both conditions at the same time in order to more quickly and efficiently help the individual heal.

To learn more about how we can help you or someone you love in recovery, call us today.