Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition characterized by an onset of anxiety-related symptoms in response to a traumatic event. PTSD can develop in response to an event in which a patient is exposed to a dangerous or life-threatening event, whether real or perceived, and persists to the point of disruption in the patient's life.
While PTSD is popularly associated with military veterans and other personnel exposed to violence, PTSD can develop in any situation where the patient feels a threat to their safety. Common situations which may induce PTSD include:
PTSD can even occur with secondhand exposure to dangerous or traumatic events. 911 operators and first responders, in particular, are at an increased risk of developing PTSD due to the stressful nature of their jobs and the terrifying situations which they are regularly exposed to.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is closely related to other mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, and as a result, often shares many symptoms with these conditions. People who struggle with PTSD often face a variety of frightening symptoms, such as:
Symptoms of PTSD can differ from patient to patient, and likewise can vary in intensity over time. While patients may go through periods where their symptoms seem to abate, PTSD itself often doesn't get better without treatment.
The stigma associated with the condition often prevents patients from seeking treatment, which in turn creates needless suffering in individuals who have been exposed to trauma.
Not everyone who is exposed to a traumatic event will go on to develop PTSD, but experiencing traumatic events of any kind will always increase your risk of developing PTSD.
Although PTSD is a situational condition determined by exposure to a dangerous or traumatic event, genetics can increase one's susceptibility to PTSD. Often, PTSD is comorbid with other mental health conditions, such as depression.
If you've been exposed to a traumatic event of any kind and believe you may have PTSD, there is help. PTSD, while a distressing and serious condition, is highly treatable with the proper care. The complex nature of PTSD often makes treatment more complex than that of other mental health conditions, but most patients who seek the proper treatment for their condition are able to effectively recover and find relief from their symptoms.
Talk therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is the primary form of treatment for PTSD, although many patients find that psychiatric patients such as antidepressants can greatly help with their symptoms in the short-term.
Anti-anxiety medications may additionally be of help, although the addictive nature of these medications make them unsuited for long-term use. Additionally, many people who struggle with PTSD often abuse drugs such as alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. "Treatments" such as these only make the problem worse in the long-term, and further the suffering of those afflicted, as well as complicating the treatment course. This is why it is crucial to seek help from a qualified professional if you believe you are suffering from PTSD.
Remember, the trauma you've been exposed to is NOT your fault. These terrifying symptoms are the brain's way of coping with very real danger. The stigma associated with conditions such as PTSD can be additionally traumatizing, and it is with this in mind that we at Overcomers Counseling of Colorado Springs approach our empathetic, individual-based treatment modalities.
We understand what an enormous struggle recovery from trauma can be. If you're ready to reach out and take the first step on your journey to recovery, we at Overcomers Counseling are here with a safe, empathetic community dedicated to helping you get better. Call 719-345-2424.