According to the PTSD alliance the definition of PTSD is “a complex health condition that can develop in response to a traumatic experience – a life-threatening or extremely distressing situation that causes a person to feel intense fear, horror or a sense of helplessness. PTSD can cause severe problems at home or at work. Anyone can develop PTSD – men, women, children, young and old alike. Fortunately, PTSD is treatable.”
Who Can Suffer From PTSD?
Approximately 25% of all people who experience a traumatic stressor will develop PTSD
Almost 5.2 million American’s are known to suffer from PTSD at any one time.
Combat Veteran’s. PTSD is often called battle fatigue or shell shock.
Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event.
What Kind Of Events Can Cause PTSD?
Serious accidents (such as train or plane wreck)
Natural Disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes)
Mass Tragedy (such as bombings and 911)
Violent Crime (rape, mugging, assault)
Abuse (child or adult)
While these are some examples of events that can result in PTSD, it is not limited to these events alone.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of PTSD?
Any or all the following can be signs of PTSD:
Withdrawal from others
Numbing of emotions
Loss of interest in things that were once enjoyed
Trouble with work or social situations
Reliving the experience
Increased arousal or hypersensitivity
Avoidance of situations that might remind or trigger memories of a traumatic event
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Any Of The Above Symptoms?
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will suffer from PTSD but if one or more of the above symptoms occur for more than a month seek a medical professional. There is a particular criteria for diagnosing PTSD but even if you are suffering from even one of the above symptoms a professional can help you determine what is wrong if it is not PTSD.
PTSD is not diagnosed until symptoms have been occurring for at least one month. Signs of PTSD normally begin appearing no more than three months after the traumatic stressor ends. Many of the above symptoms can be an indication of various mental health issues but none should be ignored. Seek professional help as soon as possible. Do not try to treat yourself or others as that help can prove to be detrimental to everyone involved and only make matters worse.
PTSD is a serious condition that should not be ignored nor should you try to “cure” yourself or a loved one as you can do more harm that good.
The above information is simply a guideline to helping you identify the signs of PTSD. Self medication or expecting PTSD to pass on its own can be dangerous to the well being of the person suffering. PTSD is more common than most realize and contrary to popular opinion it is not exclusive to those who have been in combat. It can happen to anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Often long term or repeated trauma is a catalyst for PTSD but even one event can cause some level of PTSD. It is well known that many who survived 911 and Hurricane Katrina are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. PTSD is treatable and can be controlled with the right treatment. Do not deny yourself or those around you the right to a normal and peaceful life. Please seek help if you suspect you or someone you love may be in trouble. While the process of therapy may be scary and emotionally painful in the end you will be a healthier and happier person.