How Common Is Ptsd
Here are some facts :
- About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
- About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
- About 10 of every 100 women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men . Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.
Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.
Learn more: How Common is PTSD?
Mental Health Disorders That Include Psychotic Symptoms
In addition to PTSD, positive and negative psychotic symptoms can occur in other mental health conditions. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between them, as the symptoms can overlap.
Mental health conditions that can have positive and negative psychotic symptoms include:
- Schizophreniform disorder
When To Get Medical Advice
It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should see a GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
If necessary, your GP can refer you to mental health specialists for further assessment and treatment.
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Things You Need To Know About Trauma And Ptsd: Ptsd Awareness Month
My therapist prescribed me to drink more alcohol. I had described symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder , yet once again, the diagnosis was completely missed. Even worse, this uniformed therapist suggested that I drink wine medicinally, beginning in the morning, to help cope with what he said was high anxiety. What makes this horrible advice even more dangerous is the fact that upward of fifty percent of those with PTSD also battle substance use disorder.
You Have Extreme Emotional Reactions
When you are experiencing PTSD, your fight-or-flight reactions intensify. When your body feels unsafe, you live in a state of hyper-vigilance. “This can lead to having an extreme emotional reaction to stressful or anxious situations, especially if this reaction is much more intense than what you felt before the trauma,”trauma therapist Michele Quintin, LCSW tells Bustle. Once again, the best way to deal with these emotions is to seek the help of a professional.
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Is Your Memory Out Of Whack Is Your Mood Off
Feeling threatened and unsafe causes memories to be formed and stored differently than regular events. Sometimes people dissociate, or check out, while the event is going on. Inability to access memories of the event is a feature of PTSD.
Likewise, negative beliefs about the world can be indicative of PTSD. For example, its easy for me to believe that the world is unsafe and people should not be trusted. While there are many cynical people out there, my belief system is rooted in childhood trauma.
Blame, negative emotions , lack of interest in activities that were enjoyable pre-trauma, isolation, and the in ability to experience positive emotions are also symptoms of PTSD.
These cognitive and emotional symptoms are among the most confusing and are the reason PTSD is often misdiagnosed.
Think about it: You feel sad, dont like to hang out with people, think the world is a bad place, and have few activities you actually like doing. Sounds like depression, right?
Ask How You Can Help Us Feel Safe
People with PTSD often dont feel safe. This is where you can draw on that big heart of yours. Because you have now asked your loved one questions about their fears, youve learned some things you can do to help them feel safe. For some people, its a hug. For others, its watching a funny movie. For others, its a bowl of ice cream or an impromptu dance party in the kitchen or a drive on a country road. Whatever it is, the point is not to try and fix people with PTSD but to instead let them know youre beside them, wherever the road goes. Chin
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Repeated Search For A Rescuer
Subconsciously looking for someone to rescue them is something many survivors understandably think about during the ongoing trauma and this can continue on after the trauma has ceased. The survivor can feel helpless and yearn for someone to come and rescue them from the pain they feel and want them to make their lives better. This sadly often leads to the survivor seeking out the wrong types of people and being re-traumatized repeatedly.
You Have Digestive Issues
Many people with PTSD experience digestive issues due to the mental stress that they are under. “The brain sends signals to the stomach that the brain is under a great deal of stress, and as a result we start to see digestive issues and stomach pain,” says Poag. Like insomnia, digestive issues can be caused by a variety of factors, so if you’re questioning where these problems may be coming from, a trip to the doctor’s can help clarify.
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Information For Carers Friends And Relatives
If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.
How can I get support?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
- Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?
A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role.
To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.
How do I get support from my peers?
You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
- Read information about PTSD.
- Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
- Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
- Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
- Help them to manage their finances.
You can find out more about:
Experiencing Or Witnessing A Life
PTSD can strike anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event. That means not just war, but sexual assault, natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, mass shootings, motor vehicle accidents, and more.
There has to be exposure to some sort of very extreme type of horrible event,” says Jack Nitschke, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Something has to happen in the external world.
Not everyone who has gone through trauma will develop PTSD. Alternately, for some people, learning about violence or tragedy that happened to someone elselike the murder of a family member or friendcan lead to the disorder.
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Supporting Someone With Ptsd
Research has shown that support from family and friends is important in helping someone overcome the debilitating effects of PTSD. Couples or family therapy can help to fix damaged relationships. In some cases, family members may need to seek support of their own.
For detailed information on the most effective treatments for PTSD, see The Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
How Is Ptsd Treated
Living with PTSD can be extremely debilitating for those affected. PTSD can adversely affect every area of the person’s life and make daily living almost intolerable, says Kardong. Because of the symptoms and effects, PTSD can kill your self-esteem and mood while boosting your anxiety, all of which can affect family, personal, and professional relationships.
But there are several treatment options available for PTSD that have been proven to work. What we know is that certain forms of psychotherapy seem to work better than medications, says Wiltsey Stirman.
The first line of therapy with PTSD is trauma-focused treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to help you process the memories youve been avoiding. You also take a look at how youve been making sense of what happened. These treatments take about 8 to 16 sessions, says Wiltsey Stirman.
If the trauma-focused treatments dont seem to work or arent available, there is also present-centered therapy, which focuses on how the trauma affects your day-to-day life and problem-solves for those effects. To figure out which treatment might be best for you, the National Center for PTSD offers a Treatment Comparison Chart that breaks the details down even further.
Plus, unlike other mental health conditions like depression, once PTSD is treated, its unlikely for someone to experience a relapse. This is not something people have to live with their whole lives, says Wiltsey Stirman.
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You’re Depressed And Feel Hopeless But Don’t Know Why
As Lena Derhally MS, Licensed and Imago Certified Psychotherapist, tells Bustle, “Trauma manifests in interesting ways.” People who experience trauma can often feel depressed, hopeless, and worthless. So if you know your symptoms are relatively new and you donât have a history of major depressive disorder, this could point to trauma, she says. Regardless of the cause, though, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you do not have to suffer in silence â discussing these challenges with someone close to you or a professional can help keep these feelings from taking over your life.
What Exactly Is Ptsd Anyway
First, the basics. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It occurs in people whove experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
Sometimes, that event is big and obvious: combat, a life-threatening accident or sexual assault. Other times, it develops after a series of smaller, less obvious, stressful events like repeated bullying or an unstable childhood.
Chronic PTSD can result from multiple adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, which can include unstable adult relationships, food insecurity, childhood abuse, effects of racism, recurrent micro-aggressions and more.
These recurrent childhood stressors can impact brain and overall development leading into adulthood. When a child is exposed to stressors early in life, unhealthy patterns often develop and brain function may change due to internalization of trauma.
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Please Dont Tell Us To Just Get Over It
I think its great if loved ones can to do their best to find that balance between allowing someone with PTSD to move through their symptoms, while also holding their hand to help them pick themselves back up. I can appreciate that its difficult to see someone you love suffer, but telling that person to get over it or shaming them for what theyre experiencing only makes the process harder for the person experiencing symptoms. Meeting them where they are, and saying things like, Ive got you, Let me help you breathe, or whatever resonates best for your loved one helps make those most challenging moments easier. Susannah Pitman
You Can’t Sleep Well At Night
As Rob Cole, LMHC, clinical director of mental health services at Banyan Treatment Center tells Bustle, PTSD is a response to trauma that can make individuals feel scared, hopeless, or horrified for at least one month following the trauma. According to Cole, having disturbances in your sleeping pattern due to reoccurring dreams is a sign that you may have minor PTSD and not anxiety. If this becomes a problem for you, a therapist or counselor can help you address the trauma that is keeping you up at night.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Ptsd
Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
- unwanted memories of the event that keep coming back
- upsetting dreams or nightmares
- acting or feeling as though the event is happening again
- heartache and fear when reminded of the event
- feeling jumpy, startled, or nervous when something triggers memories of the event
- children may reenact what happened in their play or drawings
Avoidance of any reminders of the event
- avoiding thinking about or talking about the trauma
- avoiding activities, places, or people that are reminders of the event
- being unable to remember important parts of what happened
Negative thinking or mood since the event happened
- lasting worries and beliefs about people and the world being unsafe
- blaming oneself for the traumatic event
- lack of interest in participating in regular activities
- feelings of anger, shame, fear, or guilt about what happened
- feeling detached or estranged from people
- not able to have positive emotions
Lasting feelings of anxiety or physical reactions
- trouble falling or staying asleep
- feeling cranky, grouchy, or angry
- problems paying attention or focusing
- always being on the lookout for danger or warning signs
- easily startled
Signs of PTSD in teens are similar to those in adults. But PTSD in children can look a little different. Younger kids can show more fearful and regressive behaviors. They may reenact the trauma through play.
I Know Firsthand Just How Scary And Isolating Living With Cptsd Can Sometimes Be But Over The Last Three Years Ive Come To Realize It Doesnt Have To Be A Life Lived In Silence
Until I was given the skills and the tools to know how to handle my emotions and deal with my triggers, I didnt really know how to help myself or help those around me with helping me.
The healing process hasnt been an easy one for me personally, but its been restorative in a way I know I deserve.
Trauma manifests itself in our bodies emotionally, physically, and mentally and this journey has been my way of finally releasing it.
There are a number of different approaches to treating PTSD and CPTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular form of treatment, though some studies have shown this approach doesnt work for all cases of PTSD.
Some people have also used eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and speaking with a psychotherapist.
Each and every single treatment plan will be different based on what works best for each individuals symptoms. Regardless of what you choose, the most important thing to remember is that youre choosing a treatment plan thats right for you which means your path may not look like anybody elses.
No, the road isnt necessarily straight, narrow, or easy. In fact, its often messy and difficult and hard. But youll be happy and healthier for it in the long run. And thats what makes recovery so worthwhile.
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Persistent Sadness And Being Suicidal
Complex trauma survivors often experience ongoing states of sadness and severe depression. Mood disorders are often co-morbid with complex PTSD.
Complex trauma survivors are high risk for suicidal thoughts, suicide ideation and being actively suicidal. Suicide ideation can become a way of coping, where the survivor feels like they have a way to end the severe pain if it becomes any worse. Often the deep emotional pain survivors feel, can feel unbearable. This is when survivors are at risk of developing suicidal thoughts.
For more information about suicidal issues, see my website.
Causes Symptoms And Risks
PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing single, repeated or multiple events. For example:
- serious accidents
- physical and sexual assault abuse. This could include childhood or domestic abuse
- work-related exposure to trauma. Such as being in the army
- trauma related to serious health problems or childbirth
- war and conflict torture
Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD.
The risk of getting PTSD depends on how the experience affects you. PTSD is more likely to develop if the traumatic event:
- is unexpected,
- Self help
How can the NHS help me?
You can speak to your GP about your concerns. They will be able to talk to you about treatment options and coping strategies. You dont have to do what your GP thinks that you should do. But you should listen to them.
Make sure that you understand the pros and cons of your treatment options before you make a decision.
Your treatment with be managed by your GP or the community mental health team . In some cases, your treatment maybe shared between both primary and secondary care. Healthcare professionals will agree who will monitor you.
Some people will get care under the Care Programme Approach . This means that you will have a care plan and care coordinator to make sure that you get the support that you need.
Look at the following section for more information on NHS treatment.
Adult social services
What other help is available?
There may be a different service available, such as employment or isolation support.
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When To See A Doctor
Many people experience symptoms after a traumatic event, such as crying, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, but this is not necessarily PTSD.
Prompt treatment with a qualified professional can help prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
This should be considered if:
- symptoms persist for more than a month
- symptoms are severe enough to prevent the person returning to normal life
- the person considers harming themselves
Treatment usually involves psychotherapy and counseling, medication, or a combination.
Options for psychotherapy will be specially tailored for managing trauma.
Cognitive processing therapy : Also known as cognitive restructuring, the individual learns how to think about things in a new way. Mental imagery of the traumatic event may help them work through the trauma, to gain control of the fear and distress.
Exposure therapy: Talking repeatedly about the event or confronting the cause of the fear in a safe and controlled environment may help the person feel they have more control over their thoughts and feelings. The effectiveness of this treatment has been questioned, however, and it must be carried out with care, or there may be a risk of worsening of the symptoms.