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Home PTSD and addiction

PTSD and addiction

PTSD and addiction

Get private treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction in the restorative surroundings of Delamere forest

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“Delamere focuses on equipping you with the tools to love sobriety and understand what led to the addiction in the first place which really helped me grow.” Delamere Guest, 2021

Holistic approach to recovery

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

Private luxury accommodation

PTSD and addiction

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after someone experiences a traumatic event, such as a car crash, serious assault, child abuse or health problem. It’s estimated 1 in 3 people will suffer from PTSD following a stressful situation but not everyone will seek treatment. It causes the person to repeatedly playback the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares (1). In order to escape these terrifying feelings and negative emotions, many PTSD sufferers turn to drink and drugs. PTSD and addiction is common. As well as alcohol addiction and drug addiction, PTSD has also been associated with eating disorders (EDs) and addictive behaviours, such as food addiction.

Many of the addictions we treat here at Delamere stem from trauma. We help people suffering with the dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction to work through their problems with a combination of one-to-one counselling, group therapy and somatic healing techniques. Our purpose-built retreat set beside Delamere forest is the ideal environment to let go of your past trauma and start rebuilding your life. If you need PTSD support or aren’t sure how to help someone with PTSD and addiction, it’s worth finding out more about what private treatment could offer yourself or a loved one.

If you want to talk about PTSD and addiction, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.

See how a stay at Delamere can give you the time, space and tools needed to grow beyond your addiction. Book a consultation

The connection between PTSD and addiction

Some people are more likely to suffer with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder than others. Women are more likely than men to have experienced high impact traumas, such as sexual abuse or childhood neglect. Whereas men are more likely to have been involved in combat or physical attacks (2). Children and adolescents exposed to sudden violence or dysfunctional relationships are particularly at risk as are those with a family history of mental health problems.

So, how are PTSD and addiction linked? There is a growing body of evidence that shows a connection between substance abuse and stress. People often decide to self-medicate to cope with life stressors or to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression caused by a traumatic event (3). This is because alcohol and drugs increase the level of chemicals in the brain that help us to be happy. A person with PTSD may become increasingly reliant on substances to function which can turn into an alcohol addiction or drug addiction with continued use.

Using substances to self-medicate can actually make the symptoms of PTSD worse. For instance, alcohol and opiates are central nervous system depressants which may make anxiety and depression worse. In order to successfully treat PTSD and addiction, it’s important to unearth the trauma that is responsible. Only by understanding the root cause and triggers for addiction can a person begin to recover and rebuild their life.

Treatment for PTSD and addiction

People who have suffered a traumatic event typically experience three types of symptoms 1) Replaying the event through flashbacks or nightmares 2) Actively avoiding situations, people or places that remind them of the event or becoming completely detached 3) General hyperarousal, such as difficulty falling asleep or having violent outbursts. Often, drinking alcohol or taking drugs is the only way for someone to treat these symptoms. However, there is professional help available for PTSD and addiction.

At Delamere, we treat the symptoms of both PTSD and addiction concurrently to ensure the best chance of lasting recovery. Our trauma-related treatment uses a balance of psychoactive medication to reduce hyperarousal, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to address disruptions in thought processes and mindfulness techniques to help people develop coping mechanisms and combat triggers following therapy.

Medication to treat PTSD and addiction

Self-medicating with substances to escape past trauma can cause a tolerance to develop which means unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop. For this reason, it’s always important to start any treatment plan with a medically assisted alcohol detox or drug detox. Delamere has a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals that can help you withdraw safely and comfortably with supplementary medication and nutritional support.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for PTSD and addiction

PTSD is the most common mental health disorder in people who use substances worldwide. Without treating the underlying trauma it’s impossible to treat the addiction. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to help reduce symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Delamere uses trauma-focused CBT to help our guests talk about their traumatic experience and learn new ways to cope with anxiety instead of turning to alcohol and drugs.

Mindfulness techniques for PTSD and addiction

Studies show mindfulness is an underlying factor in both PTSD and addiction with lower levels present in people with a substance use disorder. (4) On the other hand, mindfulness has been shown to improve ability to cope and reduce PTSD symptoms. Delamere uses a wide range of mindfulness techniques to help people build resilience. This includes meditation, yoga, breathwork, grounding, art, music and equine therapy. By finding ways to process past trauma and deal with your triggers we can help you overcome addiction.

The Delamere approach PTSD and addiction

If you’re struggling with the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction, it’s time to get professional help. Our purpose-built wellness retreat beside Delamere forest provides the ideal environment to let go of stress and anxiety with support from a dedicated healthcare team. We treat the symptoms of PTSD and addiction at the same time to help you recover emotionally, mentally and physically.

Following a clinical detox from alcohol or drugs, you will have one-to-one sessions with your personal therapist and group sessions with peers to get to the root cause of your PTSD and addiction. Through somatic healing practices you will learn methods of coping and ways to reduce anxiety when faced with your triggers. We have a person-centred approach which means no two treatment plans are the same.

Our unique three-stage approach is designed to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of PTSD and addiction. We will help you stop physical cravings for alcohol or drugs, start to heal from your past trauma and grow beyond addiction.

This page has been reviewed by Dr Catherine Carney, Delamere’s psychiatrist
This page has been reviewed by Mike Delaney, Clinical Director at Delamere

Stop. Start. Grow

Our Stop Start Grow model is a refreshing approach to treatment and is what makes recovery at Delamere different. Our goal is always to give you the mindset and tools to grow beyond addiction and live life on your terms once you leave us.


Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
any distractions



Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first place

Delamere treatment model


Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere



Practice using the tools
while staying anchored to support.
Bring Recovery Home.

Read More

Our core elements of treatment

We believe that alcohol addiction and drug addiction, whether stemming from childhood trauma or a traumatic event – stems from somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.


Stopping the cycle of addiction safely and comfortably


Healing whatever
pain is causing
the behaviour


Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth

Why choose Delamere?

Holistic approach to recovery

Discreet location

Luxury ensuite accommodation

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

On-site gym & health studio

Business & family lounges

Free collection service

Transformational stories

Need support for PTSD and addiction?

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Do you need help with PTSD and addiction?

If you are showing signs of PTSD along with alcohol addiction or drug addiction, it’s important you get help.

Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our residential rehab programmes and make sure you get the support you need.

Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.


1. https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/overview/.
2. Rana Manasi, … Fred Petty, in xPharm: The Comprehensive Pharmacology Reference, 2007.
3. Nick E. Goeders. Stress, Motivation and Drug Addiction. Sage Journals. Vol. 13. P33-35. First Published February 1, 2004 Research Article https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.01301009.x.
4. Bowen S, De Boer D, Bergman AL. The role of mindfulness as approach-based coping in the PTSD-substance abuse cycle. Addict Behav. 2017 Jan;64:212-216. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.08.043. Epub 2016 Sep 8. PMID: 27664564; PMCID: PMC5143178.