August is Worldwide Parenting with PTSD Month
If you are a woman struggling with substance abuse, your chances of having PTSD increase by 30 percent to 59 percent, according to an National Institutes of Health (NIH) study. Why? More women have higher rates of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse and rape than men, a pattern consistent among youth with addiction, the study reports.
Not white? Congratulations. Race and ethnicity also play a role, especially if you have PTSD and substance abuse problems. Latino and Black youth have significantly higher rates of lifetime PTSD, the study says. Among substance dependent youth, they found higher rates of mental disorders such as PTSD and clinical depression among Latino, Black and mixed-race youth, the NIH reports.
The most popular explanation for the substance abuse factor is self medication. Who wants to deal with rape or incest flashbacks? The thought of close relatives touching my body without my permission would drive me to the bottle too but that’s not how God wired me.
Instead of drinking or pot, I rage, get angry easily, resent everyone, sabotage key relationships, isolate myself, refuse help until I’m desperate, fear large gatherings, think negative thoughts all day, feel sorry for myself, plot suicide, give up, master procrastination, overeat, under eat, feel overwhelmed all the time, and am overly aware of everything going on around me. The most dangerous neighborhood is in my head … alone.
The parenting challenge was not modeling the aforementioned dysfunctional methods of self care or self neglect.
If you are struggling with drugs and alcohol you are not alone. There is a solution. However, no solution anywhere in the entire world will work unless you surrender absolutely. I am the first to admit that I don’t surrender easily. I didn’t walk into recovery and instantly lay down my weapons of mass destruction like my mouth. It took time.
My experience has taught me some can lay it down and surrender faster than others. I am slow. It took me several years before I figured out that when I surrender, I win.
Good therapy is hard to find, I got blessed
Find a mental health professional to begin the process. The key to talk therapy is trust. Find someone you like. Over time, they should prove trustworthy and when this happens, that is when healing begins.
I found my therapist only because I was trying to salvage my marriage. It took me a year to implicitly trust and feel safe enough for me to bare my soul. He had my back. He saw the dynamic between me and my husband. He also diagnosed me with PTSD shortly after my very first and very involuntary abreaction.
He was the one who spoke, face-to-face, man-to-man to my husband and warned if he didn’t want to lose me, he better get his ass to Alcoholics Anonymous yesterday. Deep down, my husband didn’t want our marriage to fail. It would take another man who he began to trust and respect before he would finally get a sponsor and start working his own recovery program.
Good news: Quality mental health services in rural, remote areas is available
Rural and remote locations have the exact same problems any urban county has except they have far fewer resources, according to Sarah Peterson, Codington County South Dakota’s welfare director. Resources are stretched thin.
Fortunately, between Affordable Care Act initiatives for mental health services and technological advances, virtual care is now within reach for those whose closest neighbors are miles apart. System reforms are focusing on improving access to quality mental health/substance use disorder (MH/SUD) care in rural communities. Approximately 46 percent of veterans diagnosed with PTSD live in rural areas, according to a white paper submitted to Congress by the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Development Disability Directors.
They endorsed various key initiatives to improve delivery of MH/SUD services in community health centers that are funded by Medicare/Medicaid services and US Department of Health and Human Services. These health centers serve a variety of federally designated medically underserved area/populations. This report recommends these health centers should continue and be strengthened.
Here’s the best part: The report recommends increasing and accelerating the use of tele-psychiatry and telemedicine in SUD treatment to reach patients in rural communities. In other words, today you can get therapy online via, e.g., Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime. Of course, for more acute cases, I highly recommend face-to-face, in-person therapy, if available.
Help is available. Get it. Persevere. Overcome.
For more information …
The National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD) is a nonprofit membership organization, promotes national policies that recognize and support the critical role counties play in caring for people affected by mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, and developmental disabilities.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Posts in 2017 series
Breaking the cycle of loneliness takes work
Go outside and play on PWPTSD Awareness Day
Women, Blacks, Latinos have higher rates of abuse
Managing compound-complex parenting
Drinkin’ and druggin’ make parenting even harder
Risky behavior, self neglect aren’t life sentences
When food becomes a weapon
Managing rage, ground rules around kids
Managing hostile relatives, false accusations, head games
Parenting: If it’s not hard, you’re not doing it right
Third Annual Worldwide Parenting with PTSD Awareness Day is here!