Many people have heard of or know people who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but it remains a very misunderstood mental affliction. When it comes to truly understanding what someone who suffers from this disorder goes through, most people simply don’t know what to do or how they might be able to identify the signs and help those who may need medical assistance.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder—falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders and is one of the most common in the world. Although there are different types of PTSD, some symptoms can be identified as the following.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
Avoidance—People who suffer from the disorder will attempt to avoid thinking about traumatic events and/or avoid circumstances that may trigger emotional reactions. For example, those who suffer from war-related trauma might avoid car shows where loud, sudden engine noises could trigger traumatic memories in the form of flashbacks.
Even so much as driving a car may be avoided due to unforeseen traffic incidents such as obnoxiously loud motorcycles rushing by or general traffic stress.
Unwanted or IntrusiveMemories—Persisting negative thoughts relating to the traumatic event occur frequently in those suffering from the disorder, leading to physiological reactions such as panic attacks or intense anxiety. Intrusive thoughts could also be consistently present in the form of nightmares.
Anger is a common emotion triggered by these memories and can result in a plethora of issues including damaged relationships, violence, angry outbursts, or worse, criminal charges brought by law enforcement due to misdemeanor or felony battery, or murder.
Changes in Thought Process—Untreated PTSD can result in a coloring of the attitude affecting nearly every aspect of life negatively. If, for example, the person suffering from the disorder failed to resolve the emotional issues underlying getting beat up or humiliated in school, the victim may see themselves as unworthy of joining certain social circles, making friends with particular people, or developing romantic relationships, as this type of trauma has an effect on self-esteem and confidence.
Another common example is when children grow up with a profound lack of stability in the home, such as an alcoholic parent who causes consistent devastation, parents who continuously fight and scream at each other, parents who are consistently abusive toward their children, and various other types of ongoing circumstances. Over time, the build-up of stress can cause those suffering to perceive the world in a generally negative way.
Changes in Reactions—Generally, becoming easily startled or frightened is a common example of a PTSD symptom. When carrying out day-to-day activities in the home, children especially can be hard to deal with due to the fact that they often blurt out loud noises or cause sharp room noises when impulsively jumping up and wandering around. With enough build-up, the noises can be troubling, far more so than for average people who don't suffer from the disorder.
Varying Intensity of Symptoms—Life brings good and bad, and we have to learn how to live with both. However, during troublesome times, perhaps financial hardships, sickness in the family, loss of a loved one, or divorce can cause stress levels to rise considerably.
When stress rises, the tendency for PTSD symptoms to rear their heads also rises and with potentially greater intensity. Even while stress is at a relatively low level, small and seemingly little things can trigger memories of traumatic events, with varying levels of intensity.
Butler Hospital’s state-of-the-art mental health care specializes in disorders such as this. So, don’t hesitate to contact Butler Hospital today to speak with someone who can help you or a loved one suffering from mental afflictions like PTSD.
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