PTSD Awareness Day: Creating Awareness, Offering Support
Everyone in life will at some point become subject to a traumatic event. Where and how differs, but life has a way of placing us in these situations. Most people recover, but many find it much more difficult to do so. Indeed, according to government figures, about 8 million people have a particularly hard time recovering. That’s why June, and this day in particular, is an appropriate time to remind ourselves about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
We often associate PTSD with the after effects experienced by soldiers who served in combat areas. While that is often the case, it also occurs in victims of violent crimes, sexual assault, auto accidents, abuse, or natural disasters.
In short, individuals who encounter overwhelming stress are affected, and if they do not have treatment, even more problems can arise.
Raising awareness and offering support are vitally important. The difficulty with PTSD is that on the surface, symptoms are often not readily apparent. It isn’t a physical wound but a deep, sometimes long-lasting emotional pain that doesn’t go away.
Most people who face a high-stress situation don’t automatically suffer from PTSD. It is a matter of diagnosing the disease, and this usually occurs after an initial screening by a mental health professional who asks a few questions.
After assessing the answers, a professional therapist is better prepared to suggest further counseling should a person exhibit PTSD. We should also realize that children can also suffer from PTSD.
Do you suffer from PSTD? The questionnaire at the end of this blog should point you in the right direction.
If you suspect a problem or if you are unsure, do NOT hesitate to seek out a mental health professional who can help. Problems related to PSTD include anger, depression, chronic pain, sleep problems, substance misuse and suicide. And PTSD affects not only the individual but also friends and family. I strongly urge you to visit https://bit.ly/2sn2ESJ.
It is vitally important not to regard the need for help, advice, and treatment as a sign that you are weak. Allow me to be blunt: It is not a sign of weakness but a signal that you want to heal. If you broke a leg, you wouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor. Why is being emotionally wounded any different?
Effective treatments for PSTD exist. Seek help and become the stronger person that you are on the road to recovery.
That’s my take, what’s yours?
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.
There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.
- Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place. For example:
- You may have nightmares.
- You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
- You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers.
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. For example:
- You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
- You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
- If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
- You may keep very busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps you from having to think or talk about the event.
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings. The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the following:
- You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
- You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
- Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. This is known as hyperarousal. For example:
- You may have a hard time sleeping.
- You may have trouble concentrating.
- You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
- You might want to have your back to a wall in a restaurant or waiting room.
Source; National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs