Did you know that about 7 out of every 10 Americans experience a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime?
No one is immune to a traumatic event - it can happen to anyone at any time. But sometimes, a disturbing and profoundly distressing experience continues to haunt a person, even once it has passed.
While some individuals will experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms shortly after a traumatic experience, the onset of symptoms may be delayed for months or even years.
It’s important to remember that PTSD is not exclusively reserved for war veterans. It's a trauma disorder that requires treatment for anyone who suffers from the symptoms. Recognizing the impact of trauma and where it began are necessary steps to finding relief and moving forward from this debilitating condition.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after a traumatic event – whether someone experiences or witnesses it. Many people associate PTSD with war or even natural disasters, but it can affect people who have been in an accident or suffered personal assault.
PTSD is Not Just for Veterans
Trauma can affect anyone.
It does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. It is estimated that 70% of individuals in the U.S. will experience a traumatic event at least once.
When trauma symptoms persist and do not improve in the weeks or months following a traumatic event, they can develop into PTSD. This means that 20% of those individuals will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While most people associate PTSD with soldiers who have experienced combat, the condition can affect anyone who has gone through a traumatic event. This includes individuals who have directly experienced a traumatic event, such as a car accident survivor, and those who have witnessed it or come upon the scene soon afterward, such as a first responder.
Regardless of how a person is exposed to trauma, it is important to remember that PTSD is a serious condition that can profoundly impact a person's life.
The Signs of PTSD: What to Look For
PTSD symptoms can be divided into four main categories:
Those with PTSD may develop severe anxiety accompanied by intrusive images or thoughts.
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, often distressing memories or vivid flashbacks of the traumatic event. They can come anytime, without warning, and can be very difficult to control.
Avoidance behaviors are also common with PTSD, meaning one will avoid triggers that bring back memories, such as returning to the location where the traumatic event occurred. People with PTSD sometimes avoid anything they associate with the event, including people, places, activities, or even thoughts or feelings.
Negative changes in mood and thinking
The emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma can range in severity. These symptoms can include responses such as anger, guilt, anxiety, denial, fear, shame, depression, trouble focusing, and numbness.
Negative changes in thoughts and moods, such as feeling hopeless or feeling detached from others, are also common emotions experienced by people with PTSD.
Changes in physical and emotional reactions
Over-arousal, irritability, and reactive symptoms, such as lashing out or being easily startled, are also common in people with PTSD. "Jumpy" reactions and hypervigilance (being on constant "alert") can result from one feeling as though something frightening or traumatic is happening.
Physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, restlessness, digestive issues, nausea, sweating, and a racing heart may also develop.
Most people who directly or indirectly experience a traumatic event will have some symptoms of PTSD in the days and weeks following the event. For many people, these symptoms will go away with time. But for some, the symptoms will persist and worsen over time.
The Disruptive Impact of PTSD
PTSD can be a highly disruptive force in a person's life, affecting every aspect of it. The symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult to focus, socialize, and even perform everyday tasks.
The negative emotions associated with the condition can cause sufferers to withdraw from friends and family, leading to isolation and loneliness and making it difficult to maintain healthy relationships.
Eventually, the negative impacts of PTSD can manifest in all areas of an individual's life. As a result, many people turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
PTSD Treatment at 2nd Chance in Arizona
There are many effective treatments for PTSD that can help you regain control of your present and restore hope for your future. If you are seeking treatment in Arizona, 2nd Chance offers various treatment services for our clients to manage their PTSD.
Each patient at 2nd Chance is treated individually and given a tailor-made treatment plan based on their specific needs. Our staff is highly trained and experienced in treating PTSD and is always here to offer a supportive and understanding environment that fosters healing.
If you or someone you love may have post-traumatic stress disorder, call today to see how we can provide you with the care you need.