After experiencing a traumatic event or witnessing one, it is perfectly normal to feel fear, stress, and anxiety. Often, these symptoms will fade and eventually go away entirely. However, if these symptoms progress rather than improve, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the likely source. PTSD can interfere with your daily life and responsibilities and prevent you from doing the things you once loved to do.
An In-Depth Look at PTSD
PTSD is a serious mental health disorder resulting from experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. In the past, PTSD has been referred to as “shell shock” (WWI) and “combat fatigue” (WWII). However, it is a common misconception that PTSD is only associated with war veterans. This disorder can happen to anyone after a traumatic event. Some possible causes of PTSD include:
- Near-death experiences such as car accidents or physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Exposure to a medical-related traumatic experience or prolonged exposure to traumatic environments
- Traumatic childbirth or other medical-related circumstances
- Surviving a natural disaster
PTSD affected an estimated 3.6% of U.S. adults in the past year and the lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 6.8%. Symptoms of PTSD typically start soon after the event has taken place. You may experience intense fear that triggers a “fight or flight” response in the body as a means to avoid personal harm. Fear is just one of the many effects PTSD can have.
The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
There are many symptoms associated with PTSD. Many of these symptoms can severely impact your life and mental health. Some of the most common symptoms include the following.
This includes nightmares that are very frightening and often consist of traumatic experiences while sleeping. Additionally, you may experience flashbacks in which the event plays out in your head. This can cause you to relive the experience over and over. These effects cause consistent terrifying thoughts resulting in intense fear.
After a traumatic event, you may face an intense need to avoid other people or places that may trigger thoughts of the event or other symptoms. This level of avoidance can result in missing important things such as work, appointments, family outings, and responsibilities.
Arousal and Reactivity
A consistent feeling of being on edge may come with PTSD. You may be regularly looking for danger, be jumpy or jittery, and be easily startled. This can affect your sleep resulting in insomnia, cause outbursts of anger, as well as spur on anxious behavior.
Difficulty With Mood
When struggling with PTSD symptoms, you may experience bouts of depression. This can result in consistent negative thoughts and opinions towards yourself and persistent feelings of blame or guilt. You may also lose interest in things that were once loved or enjoyed.
If you struggle with PTSD, you may also have trouble concentrating. You may also experience difficulty with memories being fuzzy or important details being left out.
The Effects of Untreated PTSD
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of PTSD, it is imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible. The effects of PTSD, when left untreated, can have a severe impact on your life and overall well-being. You may face a higher risk of the symptoms of PTSD worsening significantly.
Depression and anxiety may also increase to more severe levels. This can lead to more mental health concerns, including the following:
- Substance use disorders (SUDs)
- Anger management issues
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or attempts.
What Treatments Are Available for PTSD?
Navigating life while facing the effects of PTSD can be challenging and discouraging when not treated properly. Symptoms can worsen over time when ignored. However, PTSD is a treatable condition with great success rates.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Treatment for PTSD typically begins with a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), also known as “talk therapy.” A branch of CBT called trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is used to treat PTSD specifically. This type of CBT is engineered explicitly for individuals struggling with the symptoms of PTSD.
TF-CBT is an evidence-based form of treatment that assists you in overcoming your PTSD. Many studies are available that evaluate the treatments for PTSD. These studies show the effectiveness and success this form of therapy has for those struggling with PTSD.
This form of therapy directly focuses on the traumatic event or events that occurred which caused the disorder in the first place. TF-CBT is often paired with other forms of treatment, such as inpatient mental health treatment, traditional CBT, for an all-encompassing treatment plan.
Find Treatment Today
Treatment doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. There are facilities that truly care about your journey through PTSD. Alter Behavioral Health can help guide you through your journey of healing. You can live a life free from the symptoms of PTSD. Don’t let trauma run your life any longer.
PTSD can leave you feeling vulnerable and helpless. Experiencing a revolving round of flashbacks and a sense of danger can drag you under and control your life. Overcoming PTSD is a process, and it does not happen overnight. However, you can get through the constant fear and anxiety that you’re feeling. You don’t have to live beneath the pressure of your PTSD. At Alter Behavioral Health, we have people who care about you and want to see you succeed. Call us today at (866) 691-4386, and we’ll pull you back up and on top of your PTSD. You can be in control of your life and get back to what you love doing every day.