What is PTSD?

Most of us are familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) mainly in reference to soldiers that have fought in wars and experienced horrific things. The truth is PTSD can take a number of forms and can affect anyone.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that can affect anyone who has had an extremely traumatic experience or witnessed something traumatic. 

Firefighter is susceptible to PTSD due to the nature of their jobs

PTSD Symptoms

Traumatic experiences such as war, assault, abuse, bullying or seeing something traumatic can cause PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD will generally start within a month from the traumatic event occurring. Sometimes symptoms don’t show until years after the event took place.  PTSD will often show up as anxiety, insomnia, depression, flashbacks, negative thinking, sudden change in moods, hypervigilance, nightmares, guilt or shame and even suicidal thoughts. These symptoms make it hard adjusting back to normal life and interfere with day-to-day functions.

How Common is PTSD?

About 60% of men and 50% of women will experience some form of trauma in their lives. Factors such as whether someone is directly experiencing the trauma will determine the severity and increase the chances of the PTSD that can occur. 

Relationships & PTSD

Many people live with some form of PTSD but never disclose their struggle to anyone. Oftentimes they feel alone and misunderstood by family and friends. They just can’t seem to find the words to express how they are feeling and when they do, relief just can’t be found. PTSD sufferers may not feel safe or comfortable to confide in family and friends which perpetuates the sense of loneliness. Those coping with PTSD can also have problems maintaining close relationships.

Is It Actually PTSD?

How do you know if you or someone you know actually has PTSD? Symptoms that can look like PTSD may or may not be related to a traumatic event.  A series of questions about your thoughts and feelings surrounding the traumatic event are asked in a test called the PTSD Checklist (PCL-5). The results won’t diagnose but they will help to determine if what you’re experiencing is indeed PTSD and needs to be investigated further.

Healing From PTSD

The good news is healing from PTSD is possible and there are many options available. The old saying “Time heals all wounds” is true when relating to recovering  from PTSD. Along with self care and professional counseling techniques, recovering from PTSD can become a reachable reality. Daily self care is a very powerful tool to help the sufferer care for themselves, taking personal responsibility for their mental health and wellbeing.

A medical worker taking time to de-stress

Most Effective Treatments for PTSD

Apart from self care there are 2 treatments that have been proven to be the most effective in recovering from PTSD:

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy for PTSD is Trauma Focused Psychotherapy. Talk Therapy can occur in a variety of forms and techniques, such as EMDR or CBT for trauma. These modalities can support you in processing your thoughts and feelings surrounding the traumatic event. 

Medication Therapy

Medications can also be prescribed to help manage PTSD symptoms and improve sleep. Medications are often best used in combination with Psychotherapy to create long term and sustainable improvements in your mental health and wellbeing. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD please reach out to us at West Wellness  so we can help you navigate the next steps toward finding healing.

Victoria at West Wellness

National Center for PTSD. August 29,2022, “How Common is PTSD in Adults”, US Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp

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