June was PTSD awareness month and several organizations have a goal to increase awareness while also minimizing the stigma associated with PTSD. By educating yourself on various PTSD facts, you will become more aware of how this disease affects so any people in the U.S. There is so much to learn about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of psychological injury is not like any other injury. There are symptoms of PTSD to be aware of. Additionally, knowing PTSD statistics is equally important. Another important aspect to understanding PTSD are the signs of PTSD. Do you think that you or someone you care about suffers from PTSD or even Complex PTSD (CPTSD)? Perhaps this will help you identify some of the tell-tell signs of PTSD.
Have you noticed strange or different behavior patterns of yourself or someone close to you? Are you wondering if you or someone you love is showing signs of PTSD? Behavior changes would include showing symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms include a number of things. The main symptoms of PTSD are described below:
- Anxiety is the most prevalent of PTSD symptoms. Experiencing some level of anxiety is a normal part of life. But, PTSD related anxiety is far worse than general anxiety. Essentially, someone with PTSD will experience sudden or intense feelings of anxiety related to extreme worry and fear. This symptom comes on within minutes and develops into a panic attack. The panic attack then evolves into a full-blown PTSD episode. Consequently, bringing on a slew of symptoms.
- Dissociation describes when a person loses touch with reality. When this phenomena takes place, you will find yourself completely out of tune with what is going on around you. You aren’t necessarily hallucinating, but you are in a state of psychosis. Dissociation causes one to isolate themselves, and you get stuck in your head. Inevitably, unable to respond or interact with those around you.
- For example, on a smaller scale, everyone has experienced this before. Can you remember a time where you found yourself four miles past the turn you were supposed to take while driving? Perhaps you were super focused on something that you were thinking about. Only when you realize that you missed your turn, you have no recollection of how or when you missed your turn or anything that you may have seen during that four miles of road. It’s very startling to say the least. The difference from this and PTSD symptoms is that it will take place for hours, even days. In this case, be sure to take proper safety measures like wearing an American Medical ID bracelet and having a support system in place.
- Audio and visual hallucinations are also signs of PTSD. Some people consider these to be flashbacks. However, a flashback and hallucinating are two different symptoms. When someone with PTSD has a flashback, they are re-living the trauma that caused their disease. During a flashback, they may see, hear, smell, and think they feel the same things that took place during their traumatic event. Hallucinating, though, can be of anything or seeing and hearing a person that is not really there. More specifically, someone or something that was never really there.
- Nightmares are another major player in the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD nightmares are far worse than typical bad dreams. In other words, if dreaming takes us to an alternate dimension, then PTSD turns the brains of trauma survivors into gateways to Hell. The biggest difference between a PTSD/trauma nightmare and a normal nightmare is that trauma nightmares feel very real. You re-live the traumatic event and when you wake up, your entire body feels like you were experiencing the tragedy all over again.
According to the National Center for PTSD, PTSD can happen to anyone. Most people associate PTSD with military combat related trauma. However, trauma can happen in many ways showing signs of PTSD immediately after the traumatic incident, or much later. In detail, here are the U.S.’s PTSD statistics closing out the year of 2016.
- 8 Million adults have PTSD during a given year
- 10 out of every 100 women develop PTSD
- 4 out of every 100 men develop PTSD
- 8% of the population will develop PTSD at some point in their lives
PTSD can occur after you have been through a trauma. A trauma is a shocking and dangerous event that you see, or that happens directly to you. During this type of exposure, you think that your life, or the live’s of others are in danger. Another key point is that PTSD can develop years after the traumatic event took place. The symptoms of PTSD are very challenging to live with. At the same time there are ways to minimize and even send these symptoms into remission.
PTSD Treatment & Medication
Although there is no cure for PTSD there are ways to manage symptoms. Finding a Therapist who specializes in trauma will teach you tools that you can use. Particularly, these tools will assist you in grounding and coping with your PTSD symptoms. For example, grounding provides you a method in which you can regain touch with reality quickly. Coping mechanisms include getting rid of your triggers and any new triggers that may develop along the way. Most trauma therapists use cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy which is a form of CBT. particularly, they will help you by going through “rewind therapy” or “exposure therapy”. Most times, however, therapy isn’t enough. You may also need PTSD medication.
PTSD medication regimens will vary depending on your particular needs and your Psychiatrist’s preference. There are so many options regarding PTSD medications on the market. It’s all about finding which one or which ones work best for you. Some of the PTSD medication that is prescribed include, antidepressants, calming agents, mood stabilizers, beta-blockers, sedatives for sleep and nightmares, and many more. Be sure to discuss options with your medical provider. Medication combined with therapy will move you in a positive direction of enjoying remission.
PTSD Safety Measures for The Entire Family
It is crucial that safety precautions are made for everyone facing PTSD. This includes the person suffering from the symptoms of PTSD, their immediate family, and any close friends or other family members. The first step would be to find American Medical ID bracelets for anyone in the family who has a mental or physical illness. Having one of these ensures that if anything happened during a PTSD episode, authorities would know immediately how best to help them. During times of hallucination or dissociation you or your loved one may wonder off and not know where you or they are.
One more safety tip would be to have a plan in place in the event of a full-blown episode happening. Generally, it is crucial to discuss this plan when the person suffering symptoms of PTSD is in a normal state of mind. Decide what will take place in order to keep the children from being exposed to the negative sides of this disease. Choose whether or not a time-out is appropriate for the spouses when things get heated or aggressive. Then select which other family members or friends should be involved or notified.
Final Thoughts on Symptoms of PTSD:
If you feel that you or someone you care about is suffering from the symptoms of PTSD, please seek medical attention right away. Only a qualified medical provider, preferably a Psychiatrist or Psychologist can properly assess and diagnose this condition. I know it is scary to think that you may have this invisible disease but think of it as closure. Finally understanding the why and what behind your issues and behavior will actually make you feel better. More so, because you can finally get treatment and know what to do in order to feel better. Instead of continuing each day with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD, get help and take back your life. Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by my shop. Proceeds go towards my PTSD Outreach Initiative!
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