Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that arises as a response to acutely traumatic experiences. Those who live with PTSD have significantly altered mental states as a result of the trauma, which can lead to behaviors such as severe anxiety, intense fear, or hyper-aggression. While these behaviors are sometimes directed outwards, PTSD symptoms also can be directed inwards and manifest in the form of self-destructive behavior. In these cases, you or your loved one must seek treatment through a PTSD treatment program.
At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we use evidence-based practices and a wide variety of treatment approaches to address PTSD symptoms, including self-destructive behavior. Our trained and experienced staff will provide a supportive and safe environment for you to unlearn self-destructive behaviors and reinforce healthy coping mechanisms. To learn more about PTSD and how treatment can help alleviate your symptoms, call 833.625.0458.
Can PTSD Cause Self-Destructive Behavior?
The links between PTSD and self-destructive behaviors are well established. Oftentimes, these occur as a manifestation of unhealthy coping strategies. PTSD frequently causes intense and distressing emotional responses, and those living with PTSD may rely on self-destructive behaviors to numb or distract from negative emotions. However, though self-destructive behaviors may alleviate the stress you feel in the moment, these behaviors have many long-term negative consequences.
Some self-destructive behaviors are more openly evident and easy to identify. These can include:
- Attempted suicide
- Unhealthy eating behaviors
- Financial irresponsibility, including gambling or overspending
- Risky sexual behavior
- Dangerous drug or alcohol use
Other forms of self-destructive behavior may be more subtle and harder to spot. Some people living with PTSD may isolate themselves socially through alienating behavior. Others may pursue toxic or unhealthy relationships or may engage in negative thinking or maladaptive behaviors. These forms of self-destruction are often less obvious and may occur unconsciously, but they still have a detrimental effect on your well-being.
The Effects of Self-Destructive Behavior and PTSD
Research is increasingly suggesting that PTSD does not only cause self-destructive behaviors, but those same self-destructive behaviors may even perpetuate PTSD symptoms by exposing those living with PTSD to new trauma. Similarly, if you are displaying one self-destructive behavior, it significantly increases the likelihood that you will engage in others. Together, these factors can exacerbate the effects of PTSD, including other mental health struggles such as depression and anxiety. In the worst cases, self-destructive behaviors can bring on life-altering consequences, such as addiction, financial ruin, serious injury, or death. For this reason, if you or a loved one is displaying these behaviors, you need to seek treatment immediately.
Treating Self-Destructive Behavior and PTSD at Atlanta Center for Mental Health
At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, your PTSD treatment will be individualized and build around your specific mental health needs. You’ll engage in evidence-based treatment practices which have been scientifically demonstrated to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, including self-destructive behaviors. These treatments can include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Prolonged exposure
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
In addition to behavioral therapies, you also will receive talk therapy, group therapy and have access to our array of holistic treatments. Our PTSD program will also focus on identifying and countering self-destructive behaviors. These treatments may include:
- Addiction counseling
- Anger management
- Stress management
- Eating disorder treatment
By working together with our staff, we hope that you will be able to work through the causes and effects of self-destructive behavior and address the harms PTSD inflicts on your daily life. If you or a loved one are engaged in self-destructive behavior due to trauma, call 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form to receive treatment today.