top of page
  • Writer's pictureW

7 Key Facts to Understand about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


image by Wix.com


PTSD is a mental health condition that can happen after an actual tough experience. It has a big effect on a person’s life and overall wellbeing. We’re gonna talk about PTSD in this article - symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, daily life effects, risk factors, and where to find support/resources.


Symptoms

There are four primary groups of PTSD symptoms. This includes messed up thoughts, avoiding things, changes in how you think and feel, and messing with your body and emotions. Intrusive thoughts can be memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Avoidance behaviors are when you avoid anything that reminds you of the trauma, like certain places, people, or activities. When your thinking and mood change, you might start feeling guilty, ashamed, or not interested in fun stuff. Your body and mind might react with heightened sensitivity to unexpected things, messed up sleep, and intense emotions like anger or irritability.

People who have gone through traumatic experiences might have heightened reactions to startles, easily getting startled by sudden noises or movements. Additionally, they may experience difficulties with sleep, such as insomnia or nightmares, as their mind repeatedly replay the traumatic event. Moreover, individuals may also go through intense anger or irritability, which can manifest as frequent outbursts or challenges in emotional regulation. These typical physical and emotional changes are a normal reaction to trauma and can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life and overall health.

The symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person because the disorder is pretty complicated. Certain individuals may felt immediate symptoms after a negative incident, while others may only exhibit signs much later. When symptoms show up late, it’s hard to diagnose and treat PTSD. It’s crucial to realize that PTSD symptoms can be different for each person and may not show up right after the traumatic event.


Symptoms vary, with some experiencing them in months and others in years.


Causes

PTSD is more likely to occur when an individual experiences severe and prolonged trauma. This can include events such as physical or sexual abuse, combat exposure, natural disasters, or witnessing a traumatic event. The severity and duration of the trauma can have a significant impact on developing PTSD symptoms, such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, hyperarousal, and avoidance behaviors.

For illustration, individuals who have previously experienced depression or anxiety may be more susceptible to developing PTSD after a traumatic event. Their pre-existing mental health issues can complicate for them to cope with the aftermath of a trauma, increasing their risk of developing PTSD. Similarly, individuals who lack a strong support system, such as close friends or family members, may also be at a higher risk. Without adequate social support, they may struggle to process their emotions and find it challenging to find comfort and understanding, which can increase their vulnerability to PTSD.

Diagnosis

A professional diagnose PTSD in mental health. The assessment for PTSD involves using the criteria specified in the DSM 5, which provides guidelines on the symptoms, duration, and impact. The mental health professional will assess the person’s symptoms, along with their medical history and any possible underlying conditions, to arrive at a diagnosis.

Evaluation

Initially, I felt nervous and overwhelmed when seeking help. I don’t know what I thought would happen, but my imagination ran the range from strapped into a chair with a heat lamp in my face to fill out a form and we’ll call you (never). The diagnosis was a process for me. I had a series of medical assessment with doctor interviews. At least for me, it seemed like an interview. Each different mental health technician and doctor asked the same questions. It seemed like a screening for a job, and that’s where I discovered DSM5. The assessment I went through wasn’t a regular job interview, but one to check for any medical problems. I must admit, I was feeling frustrated and started questioning the entire concept of weighing the potential benefits or confronting my inner demons alone. These ghosts, familiar to me, torment me expertly. Hence, I sought professional treatment. After all, I couldn’t exactly call the Ghostbusters. Why did the ghost choose therapy? Because it couldn’t call ghostbusters!


Treatment Options

As I finished my evaluation, a sense of relief flooded through me, grateful that it was finally done. Every question and visit seemed carefully crafted to resemble an interrogation by the authorities, adding an uncomfortable atmosphere to the situation. The exhaustion set in while waiting for the results as I pondered whether my level of craziness was sufficient. It’s not polite or acceptable to use “crazy” by medical professionals. Finally, I received a call to see a mental health professional, and my official mental health journey would begin, whether it would bring me better or worse. I was embarking on something that many in my community and even my family considered unconventional. A path that seemed to defy tradition, stepping into uncharted territory. The air was heavy with skepticism, as if doubt hung in every conversation. The murmurs of disapproval echoed through the halls of my mind, like distant whispers that I couldn’t escape. But I knew I had to push forward, seeking help outside the confines of conventional wisdom. I challenged the norm by defying the expectation that solace is limited to church walls. Yet, here I was, ready to begin this journey, uncertain of what lay ahead, but hopeful for the healing it might bring. I want to emphasize that, as a believer, I do not mock my faith. However, I differentiate between matters of medicine and spirituality. Both have a place and can coexist harmoniously in my life. Yes, I have PTSD. It is perhaps the one certification I earned but dislike.


Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for people with PTSD. Psychotherapy methods such as trauma-focused therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), have demonstrated favorable results in assisting individuals in managing and recovering from their symptoms.


SSRIs, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are a class of medications prescribed by doctors to manage symptoms of depression or anxiety often associated with PTSD.

It is essential to understand that treatment plans can differ based on an individual’s needs and preferences. Some people may benefit from a mix of therapy and medication, while others might find relief through mindfulness techniques or art therapy or journaling.


Impact on Daily Life

Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect an individual’s daily existence. Accompanied by vivid flashbacks and nightmares, the constant presence of haunting memories creates a relentless cycle of distress. The world around them becomes a minefield, where innocent sights and sounds can trigger intense anxiety and panic. Evoking a surge of overwhelming emotions, the mere scent of a familiar fragrance can transport them back to the traumatic event. This condition carries a heavy burden, leaving individuals feeling imprisoned in their own thoughts, always on edge, and searching for comfort in their daily routines. The symptoms of PTSD can have a profound impact on various aspects of a person’s life, including their ability to work, maintain healthy relationships, and experience overall well-being. People with PTSD may find it difficult to focus on tasks, maintain steady employment, or form meaningful relationships. Furthermore, the toll that PTSD takes on a person’s mental and physical well-being can cause feelings of seclusion, melancholy, or reliance on substances as a coping mechanism.


Recognizing individuals’ challenges is crucial in offering them the support and empathy to navigate their daily routines. All that’s needed is sometimes giving individuals space and time to work through their thoughts and emotions. Unlike others, individuals with PTSD cannot simply park or postpone their issues, as the looming shadow of the disorder always poses a risk of overwhelming them.


Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing a traumatic event, certain factors may increase the likelihood. These factors can include prior trauma or mental health concerns, having a limited support network, being exposed to severe or prolonged trauma, or having a family history of mental health conditions.

People who have experienced trauma in the past, such as physical or sexual abuse, may be more prone to developing mental health problems later in life. Moreover, those lacking a strong support system, with few close friends or family members to rely on in tough times, may have difficulty managing stress and preserving their mental well-being. Additionally, enduring severe or prolonged trauma, like surviving war or natural disasters, can impact one's mental health. Finally, individuals with a family history of mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may have a genetic predisposition to developing similar conditions. These factors collectively contribute to an elevated risk of mental health issues.

Factors, such as gender, age, and socioeconomic status, can play a role in influencing the likelihood of developing PTSD.


Just occurring does not always mean someone will develop PTSD. Individuals with risk factors might not end up with the condition. Awareness of these factors can help spot those needing support or intervention.


However, it is important to note that not all individuals with risk factors will develop PTSD. Developing this condition is a complex interplay of various factors, including genetic predisposition, resilience, and obtaining support systems. Some individuals may possess multiple risk factors but still not develop PTSD, while others with no apparent risk factors may experience the disorder. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize that risk factors do not guarantee developing PTSD and that additional factors contribute to its occurrence.


Support and Resources

People dealing with PTSD have access to support and resources. Getting support from a mental health expert is of utmost importance in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis and establish an impactful treatment plan. Support groups, whether in person or online, can offer individuals a sense of community and understanding. Moreover, various organizations and websites provide materials, self-help resources, and tips on coping strategies for those with PTSD and their loved ones. As a military veteran, the Veterans Administration (VA) provides military veterans with support for PTSD.


“If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PTSD, you might have questions. @VAPTSD has resources that can help you find answers—like this short video: “What is PTSD?” https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=YMC2jt_QVEE” VAPTSD


Remember that seeking support is not a sign of weakness, but a positive step toward healing and recovery. With the help and resources, individuals living with PTSD can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and lead fulfilling lives. Please take the time and effort to discuss with a medical health professional.


JUNE IS Post Traumatic Stress Disorder AWARENESS MONTH

“PTSD can happen to anyone. Veterans from all walks of life share their stories of PTSD, treatment, and recovery on @VAPTSD’s AboutFace. Visit the site to hear their stories: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/ aboutface/” - PTSD: National Center for PTSD


If you have appreciated learning about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and want to stay informed about issues affecting marginalized communities, including health challenges like PTSD, consider becoming part of the BreakingRanks community.


Joining BreakingRanks means becoming part of a community committed to justice, where every voice is valued. Connect with us, express your opinions, and contribute to creating an environment for important conversations on issues affecting women, African Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and military veterans. Get involved now. Let’s challenge the status quo for a brighter and more knowledgeable future.


0 views0 comments

Comentarios


bottom of page