Living with post-traumatic stress disorder
By Russ Edem 530News –
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or sexual assault.
“PTSD is a disorder that people get when they see or been through a traumatic event,” said Mark Blakeslee mental health councilor for Heart of Kansas . “These people will have residuals of the event. They will be really attuned to any thing that will startle them.”
PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD.
PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.
Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.
The symptoms of PTSD
According to Veterans Affir, PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.
“Symptoms of PTSD can range greatly. People can suffer with bad dreams, reliving the event, sleeping issues, hallucinations and very high alertness,” Blakeslee said. “People might also be with-drawn from things they like to do. They will avoid these things because it reminds them of the event.”
There are four types of symptoms of PTSD, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.
• Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). people may have bad memories or nightmares. People might feel like they are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
• Avoiding situations that remind them of the event. People may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. They may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
• Having more negative beliefs and feelings. The way they think about them selves and others may change because of the trauma. People may feel guilt or shame. Or, they may not be interested in activities that they used to enjoy. They may feel that the world is dangerous and they can’t trust anyone. They might be numb, or find it hard to feel happy.
• Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal). People may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. Or, they may have trouble concentrating or sleeping. They might suddenly get angry or irritable, startle easily, or act in unhealthy ways like smoking, using drugs and alcohol, or driving recklessly.
People with PTSD may also have other problems. These include:
• Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair
• Depression or anxiety
• Drinking or drug problems
• Physical symptoms or chronic pain
• Employment problems
• Relationship problems, including divorce
• In many cases, treatments for PTSD will also help these other problems, because they are often related. The coping skills people learn in treatment can work for PTSD and these related problems.