A common problem swept under the rug and a very common side effect with PTSD sufferers is adrenaline addiction. For a number of obvious reasons adrenaline has become a daily habit for many of us. We don’t shoot it up or smoke it but we go into some overtly dangerous pursuits in search of it. It starts almost as soon as the high of coming home hits rock bottom. Many of us get our first hit buying new toys: cars, trucks, motorcycles, handguns and any other big purchase we have been dreaming about. We get a kick just out of burning money. Then comes the speeding. We burn down highways and blow through red lights, we drive like we did over there. Anything to get that heart rate above normal. Then we start going after the bigger thrills, skydiving is a common progression, that was awesome. Then the really dumb things start, ever been car surfing at 80mph? The ten foot tall and bullet proof ideal is emblazoned in our brains. But just as that Fort Hood car death toll clicker outside the gate rarely makes it over 7 days, we keep trying to find harder and longer ways to keep that adrenaline flowing.
Just like a junkie regular life, slows, it seems boring without danger and adrenaline. We push every limit and law we can find. Eventually illegal activity begins, drunk driving is common place in the ranks of the military, mix in the adrenaline junkie and drunk driving while speeding is prevalent as well. Soon there are dead, drunk, former adrenaline junkies, that are now a permanent fixture of the highway concrete barrier systems.
I digress, simply to me this is just another symptom of PTSD that is unique to the military. We cure fear with more fear. We ram so much adrenaline down our veins in the hopes that the old fears won’t bother us any more or we won’t be around long enough to care. I am not saying to live life in bubble wrap, I am simply saying be aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Skydiving OK, car surfing not so much. There are healthy forms of adrenaline that can be found such as in sanctioned competitions and events, risk mitigated activites like sky diving and white water rafting, but again be aware of why you are doing it, for fun.