It’s natural to feel fearful after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Most people recover on their own over time, but if you continue to experience problems you may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). View the slideshow to learn more.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric condition that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event or personal assault. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to eight percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
Who’s at risk for developing PTSD?
Most people who experience a traumatic event or personal assault won’t develop PTSD. However, genetics and the type of traumatic event experienced can both play a role. The length of time a person is exposed is another factor. For example, prolonged childhood abuse may be more likely to result in PTSD compared with a single incident.
What are the symptoms?
There are four main categories of PTSD symptoms people may experience: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in arousal and reaction.
Re-experiencing includes flashbacks that cause a person to relive the trauma over and over again even though they are in present time. For some people, this can cause them to lose touch with reality and severely affect daily functioning. Physical symptoms may include a racing heart or sweating.
People with PTSD may stay away from places or events that remind them of their traumatic experience. But the more people try to avoid their thoughts and feelings, the more they come up. Eventually people can get to the point when they no longer want to leave the house or engage in any activities for fear of re-experiencing trauma.
Negative changes in thinking and mood
It’s common for people with PTSD to blame themselves for what happened. They may feel a lot of guilt and shame and eventually feel numb or have a hard time experiencing positive emotions. These feelings can cause people to lose interest in the things they used to enjoy and feel alienated and detached from loved ones.
Changes in arousal and reaction
A traumatic event can cause a person to feel tense and irritable. They may feel hyper-aroused and be unable to sleep. This can lead to destructive behaviors like drinking too much alcohol or self-medicating.
Treatment can help
People with PTSD often delay treatment because they want to avoid talking about their issues. But if you experience PTSD symptoms or notice them in a loved one, it’s time to seek help. Linden Oaks Behavioral Health offers free assessments to help people with PTSD access the care they need to feel better. We offer the full range of services and have therapists that specialize in treating trauma.
Live the life you want
Although it can be uncomfortable to deal with, you can recover from PTSD. It takes strength to get help but doing so will help you live the life you want to live.