When it comes to talking about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), most people have a basic understanding. Sadly, many have a loved one back from military service, or have survived a traumatic event, and are suffering from this mental injury and have seen the damage done by it firsthand. Let’s take a look at PTSD as a whole, so that if this seems like you or anyone you love, you can seek appropriate help.
It is estimated that there are more than 3 million people living with PTSD in the U.S. every year. The cause of PTSD is fairly concise to define: the person either experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event. Perhaps they were a part of combat in a war. Maybe they saw physical abuse in the home growing up. Possibly they were involved in a terrible car accident. Whatever the event, it has left them wounded in the way that trauma hurts people. Hence, if left untreated, the effects of that wound become the anxiety disorder PTSD.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD symptoms are generally divided into four different categories:
- re-experiencing the trauma
- negative thoughts and beliefs.
Re-experiencing or reliving, the traumatic event includes these symptoms:
- Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event
- Having recurrent nightmares
- Acting or feeling as though the trauma were happening again, sometimes called a flashback
- Having strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event
- Having a physical response, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, when reminded of the traumatic event
Actively avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the traumatic event includes these symptoms:
- Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event
- Going out of your way to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event
- Staying too busy to have time to think about the traumatic event
Feeling keyed up or on edge, known as hyperarousal, includes these symptoms:
- Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep
- Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling constantly on guard or like danger is lurking around every corner
- Being jumpy or easily startled
4. Negative thoughts and beliefs
Thoughts and feelings about yourself and others may become negative and can include these symptoms:
- Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event
- A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities
- Feeling distant from others
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions, such as happiness or love
- Feeling as though your life may be cut short
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by a mental injury, that can be managed and treated with appropriate help. The sooner help is received, the easier it will be to treat the condition. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is best treated by a mental health professional such as, a psychiatrist, counselor, or therapist. Therefore, online therapy, or counseling is a growing trend that is perfect for certain patients. Help and hope are available for those managing this serious disorder.