Seeking Treatment for PTSD: The Recovery Process

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is by definition a set of symptoms resulting from a traumatic experience of “death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury or actual or threatened sexual violence. “ More broadly, PTSD can also be defined as having experienced an overwhelming situation where your normal coping strategies are not adequate. Symptoms of PTSD can vary, but most people with the disorder experience sleep disturbances, hyper-arousal, flashbacks and mood disturbances.

 At Bellwood, we see clients who have experienced such traumas and are struggling with the symptoms of PTSD. Our program for hazardous employment groups includes members of the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, the police, EMS and fire services and would potentially be open to other work related traumas. We added the term of operational stress injury (OSI) to our program description since it is something first responders would often experience. Read more

Why It's Important to Treat PTSD and Substance Abuse Together

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after an individual has been exposed to a traumatic event such as death, serious injury or a threat of harm to oneself or others. When exposed to such events, it is normal to feel intense fear, helplessness and horror but in most cases, these feelings are eventually resolved. But, this isn't always the case.  Some people experience long-lasting intrusive symptoms such as disturbing flashbacks, heightened states of arousal, mood disturbances and avoidance of memories about the event. These are the symptoms associated with PTSD.

PTSD is more common than you might think. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Canadians will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Some groups of individuals may be more likely to be exposed to certain traumatic events and therefore more likely to develop PTSD.  For example, military members are more likely to be exposed to traumatic events such as witnessing harm to others or experiencing a threat to one’s life.   Read more

Substance Use and Addiction: What Does Work Have to Do With It?

Could your job be encouraging a substance use disorder?

Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their job.  But there are certain fields where substance abuse and addiction are more common, and they tend to have a few things in common. Research shows that high stress, low job satisfaction, long hours or irregular shifts, fatigue, repetitious duties, boredom, isolation, irregular supervision and easy access to substances can all contribute to the problem. But what groups are most affected?.  We know that employees in the arts and entertainment, mining and food services are more likely to report heavy drinking in the past month compared to other employment groups. On the other hand, employees working in healthcare and education are the least likely to report heavy alcohol use. 

Risk Factors Explained:

There are several factors associated with different types of jobs that may lead to an increased likelihood of problematic substance use. Read more

Intensive Outpatient Programs: Early Intervention Can Mitigate the Need for Residential Treatment

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Similar to other chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, addiction, if left untreated can develop into a more severe condition over time.  The negative impact of addiction can range from physical and emotional damage, to severe life impairment and even death.  This progression of the disease can occur over many years, however it often begins with use of a substance to induce a desired mood change.  The discovery of this perceived benefit can then lead to the individual’s misuse of the substanceor using to the point of intoxication in order replicate this sensation.  Substance misuse can further progress as the individual exploits this relationship between the substance use and its desired outcome.  This would be considered substance abuse, and the individual may continue to use the substance even despite the fact that it is beginning to interfere with their life, impact their work or personal relationships.   Read more

Intensive Outpatient Programs: A Flexible Option for Addiction Treatment Could be the Solution


Substance abuse is a pervasive mental health problem that can affect anyone. Research has demonstrated that about one in ten Canadians reports having a substance use issue, and these individuals include professionals, those who are employed or self-employed and those who have other daily responsibilities and commitments such as homemakers and caregivers. At times, the substance abuse issue is problematic to the point that the individual needs to seek help from addiction counsellors and mental health professionals. Traditionally, when substance use is problematic, residential programming has been the conventional option for addiction treatment. However, taking an extended amount of time off could be a barrier in getting the help that is needed, especially for those who are employed or have daily commitments. It is for this reason that treatment providers also offer Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). For those in need of addiction treatment, IOPs allow people to work and honour their daily commitments while also attending regular, outpatient treatment sessions in order to address their problems and to learn the tools that can help them maintain sobriety. Read more

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