With so much tragedy in the world, it’s not surprising to know someone with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 8 out 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Most people assume that in order to have PTSD, you must fought in a war. Contrary to popular belief, anyone who has witnessed a shocking, scary, or dangerous event can have PTSD.
PTSD is a natural response for the body to have. In stressful or fearful situations our body goes into survival mode. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, traumas that induce PTSD can range from an unexpected death, to a dangerous event. Our bodies go into a “fight or flight” response, which is typical for a person experiencing potential or actual harm.
Symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person. Sometimes PTSD can brief, and last a few weeks. Other times it can be chronic, and considered on–going. Depending on the level of trauma, your symptoms can be more or less serve. Common symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:
• Bad dreams.
• Frightening thoughts.
• Mood swings.
• Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders to the traumatic experience.
• Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the trauma.
• Being easily startled.
• Feeling tense or on edge.
• Difficulty sleeping.
• Angry outbursts.
• Trouble remembering key events of the trauma.
• Negative thoughts about oneself.
• Distorted feelings of blame or guilt.
• Loss of interest in enjoyable activities.
PTSD does not discriminate against age, race, gender, or occupation. Children can have extreme reactions to trauma, and will likely develop different symptoms than adults.
There are many options for those with PTSD. A person suffering does not need to let PTSD haunt them or destroy a relationship. There are therapists, counseling, and other treatments available. Since PTSD is not the same for everyone, the treatments are not the same either. Just know that the first step to handling PTSD is coming forward and asking for help.