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Dual Diagnosis: Alcoholism and PTSD

A group of people meet to address their alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorders.
The road to recovery often requires treating both alcoholism and any co-occurring conditions that may exist.


“Just stop drinking.”

Have you heard that before? As if the act were as simple as deciding to take a shower or eat a sandwich for lunch.

By now, many people know that alcohol addiction is not a moral shortcoming. Rather, it’s a complex disease caused by a toxic blend of environmental and genetic factors.

But what’s still eluding many people is the realization that addiction often occurs hand-in-hand with other co-occurring conditions like depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or even schizophrenia.

You can go ahead and treat the addiction to alcohol, but if you don’t address any other conditions that may exist, you won’t be making much progress. In other words, the odds of relapse will be high.

Consider this statement made by Enoch Gordis, M.D., the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

“Treatment for co-occurring illnesses in persons with alcoholism should be a standard part of every alcoholism treatment program. Unfortunately, many patients with such illnesses fall through the cracks; for example, alcoholic patients with psychiatric problems.”

Gordis goes on to call the situation “unacceptable.”

While some treatment programs understand this reality, others don’t. The result is that far too many people aren’t getting the help they desperately need.

What’s more, not everyone who suffers from depression is aware of it, especially when they’re living in the fog of addiction. The same thing goes for other conditions like post traumatic stress disorder. We tend to think of PTSD as something that war veterans experience, but it can be caused by much more commonplace events such as car accidents or the unexpected loss of a loved one.

Getting Help for Trauma and Addiction

We need to stop thinking of rehab as simply quitting drinking.

To manage an addiction, you have to understand what led to it. That means finding a rehab program that specializes in treating co-occurring conditions.

Before choosing a treatment program, ask if they assess each resident for mental health disorders. Also ask if both the addiction and the co-occurring conditions are given the same level of attention and care. Lastly, ask if the treatment team is trained in treating those with a dual-diagnosis.

Recovery at The Raleigh House from PTSD, Drinking and Other Conditions

The alcohol treatment program at The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, has years of experience and expertise in diagnosing and treating co-occurring conditions. The goal isn’t just to be alcohol free. It’s to live a full and interesting life. Fill out our form or call today for more information on launching the next phase of your life.

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