You may have heard about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, before. Soldiers can have it when they return home from serving in a war. But your trauma doesn’t have to be as severe as war to “count.”
Even lesser but more common traumas — like experiencing an abusive relationship or living through a natural disaster — can still cause PTSD. These traumas continue to affect you long after the event is over, and the only way it can stop is by addressing it. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain how trauma can have a lasting impact and how you can heal from it.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is actually relatively common. About 50-60% of people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, with about 8% developing PTSD from it. Women are more likely than men to experience PTSD, too, with an estimated 1 in 9 women having it.
Some of the traumatic events that may result in PTSD include:
- Rape or sexual assault
- Childhood abuse
- Natural disasters
- Sudden death of a loved one
- Automobile accidents
- Seeing someone get hurt or killed
- Being held at gunpoint
- Being a victim of a terrorist attack
- Mass shooting
Sometimes, you don’t even have to experience the traumatic event yourself to have lasting effects from it. Even knowing someone that the trauma happened to someone else can affect you, too.
Why PTSD isn’t just psychological
Although PTSD is thought of as a psychological disease, it’s actually more serious than that. Brain imaging studies show that trauma actually changes the brain in measurable ways, similar to traumatic brain injuries.
There’s also an association between PTSD and autoimmune diseases, though it’s not proven that the trauma causes the autoimmune disease. But prolonged stress can affect your physical health as well as your mental health.
Symptoms of PTSD
You may have PTSD if you experience certain symptoms related to your trauma. Some of these symptoms include:
If you’ve experienced trauma, you probably also experience intrusive thoughts that can interfere with your daily functioning. These often take the form of repeated memories, distressing dreams, or flashbacks to the event.
You may go out of your way to avoid situations that remind you of the traumatic event. These can include avoiding people, places, objects, and activities that recall what happened to you. Many people with PTSD avoid talking or thinking about the traumatic event and trying not to remember it.
People who have PTSD may not react to situations the way you expect they would. They may have a hair-trigger reaction to stressful situations, often reacting to them disproportionately strongly. They may also have self-destructive tendencies; be overly suspicious of their surroundings; be easily startled; or have trouble with sleeping or relaxing.
Distorted thinking and mood
When you have PTSD, you may not have accurate thoughts about yourself and your surroundings. You may not remember the traumatic event accurately, even placing blame on yourself. You may lose interest in things you used to enjoy, may feel disconnected from other people, and you may have difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
If you have any of the symptoms of PTSD, you should seek an evaluation from the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center. We can help you recover from your trauma and live a happier, healthier life. Call us today at any of our locations, or request an appointment online.