Following a tragic event, people process and recover differently. For some, it may take only a few weeks to return to normal whereas others may feel overwhelmed by their feelings for months or years after the incident. In these situations, it is possible that the person may have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It is estimated that around eight percent of the United States population is suffering from PTSD at any given time. Though it is relatively prevalent, many people do not know a lot about this mental health condition. Keep reading to learn a few essential facts about post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is a well-known mental health condition that can result in real and measurable changes in brain function and the nervous system. Reacting negatively to stress and trauma is relatively common but, not every trauma will lead to PTSD, and not every stressed person has PTSD. Some common symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, irritation, avoidance of triggers, trouble sleeping, and a sense of disconnection. Though some of these symptoms can occur in people without PTSD, they often decrease naturally over time. If the symptoms continue for longer than a month, you may have PTSD and should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
It Can Happen to Anyone
PTSD is commonly associated with military veterans, but it can affect anyone. People who were exposed to trauma or those who are repeatedly exposed to trauma, like first responders, often develop PTSD. Traumatizing events can include natural disasters, domestic violence, sexual assault, accidents, acts of war, and any other event that is thought to be life-threatening. Unfortunately, anyone can experience one of these terrible and tragic events, which means anyone can be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Consequences If Left Untreated
There are, regrettably, many individuals who ignore their PTSD symptoms and instead choose to live with them. Often, people who ignore their PTSD become depressed or violent. They may find themselves in negative or abusive relationships or may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of alleviating their symptoms, which can lead to substance abuse disorders and addiction. Living with PTSD can also result in diminished cognitive function and cause problems with learning, memory, concentration, and problem-solving. In the most severe cases, untreated PTSD can result in suicidal thoughts and ideation.
Treatment Is Available
Fortunately for those who have post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment is widely available if you seek it out. There are a number of different types of proven treatment for PTSD and many PTSD treatment facilities to choose from. Some types of treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy. Different facilities can offer different types of treatment. This best sort of treatment will also vary from person to person. Talk to your doctor to learn about all the options available and to determine which is right for you.
If you or someone you know has PTSD, contact us at Kinder in the Keys, Inc. to learn more about your treatment options and how we can help.