Eating well, exercising, and seeing a doctor for routine exams are important steps to living a healthy life. However, certain conditions, which can affect both your physical and emotional well-being, may arise even when living a healthy lifestyle. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of these conditions that can wreak havoc on the lives of you, your family, and your friends. Unfortunately, most people do not truly understand this disorder. Also known as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder can develop in surprising ways, but help is available. Here are a few surprising facts about PTSD.
More Common than Most People Think
First and foremost, you are not alone if you, a family member, or a close friend has been diagnosed with PTSD. Most people are actually surprised by how many people this disorder affects.
An estimated 8 percent of Americans have PTSD at any given time. This percentage may not seem like a lot, but it actually equals about 24.4 million people in America.
PTSD Can Develop In a Variety of Ways
Another surprising fact regarding this disorder is that can it develop in a variety of ways, even though most people associate it with emotional distress that occurs after war.
Like the name suggests, post-traumatic stress disorder develops after a traumatic event. This trauma may stem from many things, including war, accidents, abuse, assault, natural disaster, or illness.
It is important to note that not everyone will develop PTSD after a traumatic event. Therefore, you should know the signs of the disorder for efficient and effective treatment.
Signs of PTSD Vary From Person to Person
You will most likely not experience the same symptoms as another person with PTSD, since the disorder ranges in severity. In most cases, the disorder will cause 3 main classifications of symptoms.
Re-living the traumatic event/events through flashbacks and nightmares is common in individuals with PTSD. These flashbacks and nightmares can be realistic to the point where they cause you to act out the events while awake or while sleeping.
Patients with PTSD may also avoid certain situations where memories can be triggered. For example, a soldier may not want to socialize with other soldiers who they shared war with. Or, a person may avoid driving or refuse to ride in a vehicle after a car accident.
The third type of symptoms involves physical distress. Here are a few physical symptoms of PTSD:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Episodes of anger/short temper
- Thoughts/attempts of suicide
If you or a family member are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is time to seek out help.
Effective Treatment Is Available
Most people will experience a few of the symptoms from time to time, so doctors do not diagnose PTSD until the symptoms have been occurring for a month or more after a traumatic event.
Psychotherapy is the most common treatment option for patients with PTSD. This treatment involves therapy that uses visualization to confront and address the actual trauma.
Counselors may suggest cognitive therapy, which allows you to reframe the negative thoughts associated with the trauma. Prolonged exposure is another type of psychotherapy that teaches you to how gain control when facing the negative thoughts and memories regarding the trauma.
Many patients benefit from taking antidepressant medications, as well. Not only do these medications treat depression, but they are also effective for managing the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety. These medications should be used in addition to psychotherapy.
If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, consider visiting a doctor to learn more about PTSD treatment services. This guide and your doctor's help will ease the discomfort of post-traumatic stress disorder.