Throughout your life, it is common to go through periods where you experience upsetting and traumatic events. You may also have episodes where events put you on edge and it affects everything in your life. You may have trouble eating, sleeping and functioning in your daily life. In most circumstances, you are able to work through those trying times and move on. However, if those feelings linger and it is severely impacting your daily life, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is commonly thought of occurring in people who serve in the military after prolonged engagements in battle or wars. However, anybody can experience this debilitating mental condition. It is estimated that 7-8% of the American population will experience PTSD sometimes in their lives. Additionally, 10 percent of women will experience PTSD in their lifetime, compared to 4 percent of men.
This article will give you a better understanding of PTSD, the symptoms, and proper ways to treat the illness. If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free today.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur when one experiences or witnesses of a life-threatening events. These can include military combat, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, terrorist incidents, serious and life-threatening accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Those who are afflicted with PTSD will often relive those traumatic experiences through vivid nightmares and flashbacks. As a result, they have tremendous difficulty sleeping, and they feel emotional flat and detached from everyday life.
People with PTSD will experience three types of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing symptoms—these are related to reliving the traumatic event or events.
- Avoidance and numbing symptoms—these occur when those affected start avoiding people, places and things connected to the event and the resulting emotional numbing or disconnect of feelings to their daily lives.
- Arousal symptoms— those with PTSD always feel they need to be “on alert” at all times in their surroundings. If they sense things in the environment or in their interactions with people, it creates a flight or fight response.
How PTSD Is Diagnosed
PTSD is diagnosed in people based on the signs and symptoms that are manifest through a comprehensive evaluation. To meet the diagnosis of PTSD, it requires exposure to an event that involved or held the threat of death, violence or serious injury whether experienced directly or witnessed. Additionally, people need to experience symptoms such as vivid and upsetting dreams, frequent flashbacks, and severe emotional distress. It is important to note these symptoms are still prevalent after one month of the traumatic event. If emotional numbness and distress, trouble sleeping and increased and violent emotional outbursts occur, a diagnosis of PTSD is often made.
However, it is important to note that the diagnosis must be thorough. Misdiagnosis is common, and there are numerous disorders the share similar characteristics with PTSD. These can include the following:
- Acute stress disorder (ASD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive/compulsive disorders
Additionally, the diagnosis of PTSD can be difficult because of the overlap in symptoms.
Getting Help For PTSD
Almost all people who develop PTSD need to seek professional help from reputable facilities that feature specialized programs that deal with this traumatic condition. In many cases, the stigma attached to mental illness causes people to suffer in silence. In order to cope, many turn to substances. However, this “quick fix” does not address the root causes of the issue. In many cases, people will also develop substance abuse problems in addition to PTSD.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy specifically helps victims of trauma.
Facilities that specialize in treating PTSD feature dynamic individual and group therapy. Also, they feature effective therapies such as cognitive processing therapy and exposure therapy to help people confront and work through their issues in a safe and supportive environment. Additionally, these facilities feature medication therapies and other interventions.
If you or a loved one need help, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free right now.