Mental disorders are relatively common in the United States. Various Americans experience different forms of mental disorders. The most common are depression and anxiety. However, another prevalent mental disorder that’s not getting enough spotlight is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
It’s normal to feel scared or anxious after a traumatic event. In some cases, however, these feelings don’t go away and may even worsen over time. This is known as PTSD. PTSD can be debilitating and make it difficult to function in everyday life. But there are ways to deal with it. The first step is understanding what PTSD is about.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD was first identified as a mental disorder in the 1700s. At the time, it was known as “soldier’s heart.” This was due to the fact that many of the early cases were seen in soldiers who had returned from war. As a result, many people experienced it, and most waved it off as simply “shell shock.”
People didn’t understand PTSD until the early 1900s. It wasn’t until after the Vietnam War that PTSD began to be taken more seriously. During this time that PTSD was formally recognized as a mental disorder. PTSD was officially recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980.
Today, we understand that anyone can have PTSD, not just soldiers. It’s estimated that about 3.5% of American adults live with PTSD in any given year. And about 6% of Americans will experience it at some point in their lives.
PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It could be a car accident, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or entirely different. It doesn’t have to be something physical, either. It could be something that happened to you or something you witnessed happening to someone else.
PTSD can also happen to children. It’s estimated that about 1 in every 3 children who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD can manifest in different ways for different people. For some, the symptoms may be mild. For others, they can be much more severe. There are four main types of signs:
Re-experiencing the trauma
can include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts. You may feel like you’re reliving the event over and over again. It can be a very uncomfortable moment in your life, making it difficult to function in everyday life.
You may start to avoid anything that reminds you of the trauma. Avoidance includes avoiding people, places, activities, etc. You may also begin to avoid talking about the event altogether. It can make it difficult to process what happened and lead to social isolation.
Adverse changes in mood and thinking
This can include feeling more irritable or angry than usual, numb or detached from others, and having negative thoughts about yourself or the world. You may also start to believe that the world is dangerous and that you can’t trust anyone.
Changes in physical and emotional reactions
This can include being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping, feeling on edge, and experiencing problems with concentration. You may also feel more isolated and withdrawn than usual.
You can have one or two of these symptoms, but having three or more means experiencing a severe form of PTSD.
If you think you may have PTSD, you must see a mental health professional. They will be able to assess your symptoms and give you a diagnosis. If you are to be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and must be experiencing at least one of the four main types of symptoms for at least one month.
There are several different treatment options available for PTSD. The most common is getting therapy.
Therapy is an effective treatment for PTSD. There are many intensive trauma treatment centers in the United States that can help you out. These centers specialize in helping people with PTSD. They use various psychiatric therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy.
It’s also essential to have a robust social support system. Social support could be your family, friends, or a support group for people with PTSD. Having people, you can rely on can make a big difference in your recovery.
Some medications can be used to treat PTSD. The most common are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. These can help to improve your mood and relieve some of the symptoms of PTSD.
If you think you may have PTSD, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health professional. With proper treatment, you can begin to heal from the trauma and live a healthy and happy life while recovering from your trauma.