PTSD Affects Soldiers and Civilians Alike

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I’ve used this space to touch on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers returning from fighting overseas. That one example has gotten a lot of coverage and raised awareness about PTSD, but it’s not just soldiers who are at risk. Nearly 8-million American adults will suffer from PTSD each year. It can stem from a number of incidents, such as hurricanes or tornadoes or even car accidents or physical abuse.

PTSD causes your brain to become stuck in the fight or flight instinct from a traumatic event. It is an anxiety disorder involving trauma, depression and anxiety.

It usually takes a month after an event that threatened your life or a loved one’s life before an individual can be diagnosed with PTSD. After that time has passed, if you are still feeling depressed or anxious and continuously thinking about the event, you may be experiencing PTSD.

Rosemary K.M. Sword and Philip Zimbardo have some warning signs that therapists look for when diagnosing PTSD at Psychology Today. They include:

  • Deperession- Not feeling like doing anything
  • Anxiety or panic attacks- constantly feeling like something bad is about to happen
  • Intrusive recollections- memories of your traumatic event continually pop into your head
  • Nightmares
  • Detachment- feeling distant and losing trust in people
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Lack of concentration- forgetting people’s names, being unable to follow a TV show or read through an article
  • Easily startled

One of the dangers in a patient’s reaction to PTSD is how they cope. Too often, a patient will fill their life with unhealthy habits, such as drugs, alcohol or even working long hours in order to take their mind off a traumatic event. These are not cures for PTSD. If you suspect you, or someone you love may be suffering, call a mental health professional to get help.

 

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