It’s been a while since we revisited our PTSD Facts series, and we apologize for that, but we’ve returned with three more facts as we approach the end of PTSD Awareness Month. The facts we are presenting to you today are a little bit heavier than others we’ve published so far this month, but that compounds the importance in our ability to recognize them as early as possible.
Comorbidity is the medically-correct way to say, “the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient.” So, why is this an important fact to recognize in terms of PTSD Awareness? Simply put, PTSD can greatly impact a patient’s health in terms of not just a number of psychological disorders, but also other conditions, such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity. This small list is not all-inclusive, so if you have questions about the possibility of PTSD and other comorbidities, we encourage you to reach out and talk to your healthcare professional and they can walk you through any potential risks as they pertain to you individually.
Those affected by PTSD are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem, with some sources reporting this increased likelihood up to 14x. Self-medication is a huge factor in this, as people with PTSD commonly attempt to lessen, null, or avoid their symptoms. Further, those with PTSD are more likely to abuse alcohol over drugs such as cocaine. As such, it is important to be able to recognize signs that can be associated with substance abuse, like: noticeable changes in behavior, decreased appetite and weight loss, and being argumentative when asked about substance abuse.
People affected by PTSD may experience a variety of issues associated with their ability to sleep, such as falling sleep, staying asleep, and nightmares when they are finally able to sleep. Nightmares are actually considered one of the re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD, wherein the nightmare may be about the traumatic event itself. These sleep-related troubles can eventually snowball to a point where people with PTSD may experience worries or thoughts about their traumatic event as soon as they go to bed.
Here are some additional resources for you, in case you want to learn more about these PTSD Facts:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Addiction: Treating Signs & Causes
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders: Advances in Assessment and Treatment
- PTSD Facts and Resources - Cohen Veterans Bioscience
If you missed any of the previous posts in our PTSD Facts series: