addiction recovery and PTSD

Addiction and mental health struggles often coexist, and determining which came first -- the substance abuse or the mental health challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- can sometimes be difficult. Identifying which condition occurred first isn’t critical; what is vital, however, is to treat both issues at the same time. Known as dual diagnosis care, effective treatment requires addressing both the substance use disorder as well as PTSD. 


PTSD is a term used to describe a “disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” Those disruptive events might include violent assault, natural disasters such as tornadoes or catastrophic floods, sexual abuse, military combat, or childhood neglect or abuse.

PTSD symptoms

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD symptoms may manifest as:

  • Flashbacks (feeling as if you’re repeatedly reliving the trauma), which frequently feature physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or sweating
  • Avoidance techniques like trying to stay away from places, events, or objects that remind you of the negative experience
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling tense and/or having angry outbursts
  • A loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed

Symptoms interfere with the individual’s day-to-day life and often lead those who have been diagnosed to self-medicate in the hopes that drugs or alcohol will help alleviate their pain and suffering. Unfortunately, doing so has the potential to ignite a significant substance use disorder. Treating PTSD without also addressing the addiction, however, is an obsolete approach. Modern mental healthcare understands that success is best achieved when both the PTSD and addiction are treated in tandem.

treating addiction and PTSD in Boulder, Colorado

At our Boulder, Colorado addiction recovery center, our team of experienced healthcare professionals provides effective, integrated dual diagnosis treatment to help individuals who are suffering. By working closely to understand each person’s struggles and the severity of their PTSD and addiction, we can help them adopt healthy coping mechanisms and find the path toward lasting recovery.

choice house in Boulder can help

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Choice House offers compassionate, goal-focused dual diagnosis treatment. Through our various programs – 90-day residential treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and structured sober living – our dedicated team of licensed therapists and behavioral health professionals work with participants in group and individual settings to identify the root causes of the issues they are facing. We understand that a dual diagnosis such as addiction and PTSD always involve more than the behaviors themselves, and we delve deep to help each individual heal and pursue long-term sobriety.

Explore Denver - Boulder sober living home options by contacting our admissions team: 720-577-4422 or