Myth #: Ptsd Only Affects Veterans
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that affects people who’ve been through a significant trauma. Humans have long been haunted by trauma, but it wasn’t until 1980 that psychologists made PTSD an official diagnosis. Civil War soldiers who were plagued by what we’d now call anxiety and panic attacks, symptoms of PTSD, were diagnosed with “irritable hearts.” Troops in World War I had “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” The American Psychiatric Association added PTSD to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders after soldiers came back from Vietnam exhibiting symptoms of the condition en masse.
Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD as men The perception of the disorder has historically been centered on soldiers, but anyone can develop PTSD. Combat, child abuse, a physical assault, or a car crash can cause PTSD to develop. About 7 percent of the US population has PTSD some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD. It’s a small portion of the people who go through a trauma, because most people who experience some sort of significant distress don’t develop PTSD. Women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD as men, with 10 percent of women and about 4 percent of men having it some point in their lives.
Though Its Often Associated With The Horrors Of War Post
May 9, 2022
All of us will encounter stress throughout our daily lives. When a strong emotional response to an extremely stressful or disturbing event impairs a persons ability to cope, its often considered to be traumatic.
While trauma doesnt always directly lead to post-traumatic stress disorder , it is beneficial for those who have witnessed or experienced traumaas well as their loved onesto know the signs and symptoms of PTSD, ways to treat it, and how to seek help.
Trauma can vary in severity and impactin fact, approximately one in three people who experience severe trauma also experience PTSD.
Despite its more common association with soldiers returning from combat situations and the horrors of war, PTSD is a condition that can apply to anyone who has witnessed or experienced traumatic, life-threatening, or life-changing events.
According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD is a common condition affecting 10% of women and 4% of men at some point in their lives.
Ptsd Can Be Treatedyes Theres Hope
If you are overwhelmed by symptoms or negative thoughts that you suspect are related to PTSD, you should contact your health care team to discuss the possibility of a PTSD diagnosis. You can also contact a local mental health facility, like McLean, to get the help you need. You dont have to struggle on your ownthere is a path to recovery.
If you recognize the symptoms in a friend or loved one, you should always reach out to them and offer support. Whether they accept your help or not, knowing that youve offered can be incredibly helpful to those who are affected by mental illness.
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How Trauma Affects Your Body
Trauma impacts your body in profound and lasting ways, particularly in childhood. The actual traumatic event or series of events triggers the bodys stress response.
When we are faced with a threat , this fight-or-flight system automatically kicks in and releases cortisol and other stress hormones into our brain and body. This causes our heart rate to go up and our muscles are alerted to either potentially run away from whatever could hurt us or to freeze. It is designed to increase our chances of survival.
In normal circumstances, the stress response turns off after the threat passes. However, when theres trauma, parts of the brain turn off so that we can focus on escape and survival. When this happens, some of the memories about the trauma can get placed in the non-cognitive areas of the brain, such as the sensory system, or in the body. They essentially get hidden away.
With PTSD, the brain fails to process the trauma correctly. It doesnt file the memory of the event as being in the past. The stress response stays engaged, and the brain stays alert to any potential danger, even when it is safe. Details like sights, sounds, or smells, get attached to the trauma memory, and they can become triggers.
International Classification Of Diseases
The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10 classifies PTSD under âReaction to severe stress, and adjustment disorders.â The ICD-10 criteria for PTSD include re-experiencing, avoidance, and either increased reactivity or inability to recall certain details related to the event.
The diagnostic description for PTSD contains three components or symptom groups re-experiencing, avoidance, and heightened sense of threat. ICD-11 no longer includes verbal thoughts about the traumatic event as a symptom. There is a predicted lower rate of diagnosed PTSD using ICD-11 compared to ICD10 or DSM-5. ICD-11 also proposes identifying a distinct group with complex post-traumatic stress disorder , who have more often experienced several or sustained traumas and have greater functional impairment than those with PTSD.
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Complex Ptsd And Comorbid Conditions
Complex PTSD is often comorbid with other disorders. Some research has analyzed the symptoms between complex PTSD, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder. Many people with borderline personality disorder either have PTSD or meet the diagnostic criteria for complex PTSD.
They’re still considered a separate disorder because a significant number of people with borderline personality disorder do not meet the criteria for complex PTSD and vice versa. So they are two separate disorders, but there is a high co-morbidity rate, meaning a significant portion of people diagnosed with one will also meet the criteria for diagnosis of the other.
People with complex PTSD, in general, meet more of the criteria for the DSM diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder with dissociative symptoms
These include things like feeling detached from oneself or like an outside observer of your life, feeling like youre in a dream, like you or your body are unreal, or that the world is not real. This also includes feeling like the world is distant or distorted.
If you think that you or a loved one has experienced traumatic events and suffering any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, help is available.
How Common Is Ptsd In Adults
Most people experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. It’s typical for us to recover over time. But some people develop PTSD. Learn how many adults have PTSD in the United States.
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PTSD can occur after you have been through a trauma. A trauma is a shocking and dangerous event that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger.
Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 men and 5 of every 10 women experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.
PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, if you were directly exposed to the trauma or injured, you are more likely to develop PTSD.
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Where Can I Find More Information On Ptsd
The National Center for PTSD, a program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is the leading federal center for research and education on PTSD and traumatic stress. You can find information about PTSD, treatment options, and getting help, as well as additional resources for families, friends, and providers.
Myth #: It’s Not An Injury So It Doesn’t Require Medical Attention
Trauma can be physically damaging, but isn’t always. You don’t have to be physically hurt or wounded to develop PTSD. Many disaster workers who volunteered as part of the rescue crews after 9/11 developed the disorder, though they weren’t physically hurt in the disaster.
Even without a physical wound, PTSD is a sign of an injury, and one that often requires medical attention. Some PTSD symptoms might be acute and subside quickly on their own without help from a professional. But many people with PTSD find their lives disrupted by the symptoms, and require medical attention. It can cause people to lose function as their daily lives are interrupted by symptoms such as panic attacks and sleeplessness. PTSD isn’t something people can necessarily get over by themselves. It often takes time, support, and directed treatment. Seeking medical attention can help people with PTSD regain control over their lives.
To bust this myth, there’s a campaign to end the stigma around PTSD by dropping the D from its name. Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter has led the movement to change the name to PTS, because he wants people to start seeing it as more of an injury and less of a disorder.
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How Do You Know If You Have Ptsd What Causes Ptsd
Essentially, anything that could be considered traumatic, stressful and anxiety-inducing can in theory cause PTSD.
This can include witnessing a traumatic event or outright being part of it.
Stressful events that can induce PTSDS include the following:
- Sexual assault or rape
- Car accident or similar vehicular disaster
- Experiencing a natural disaster
- Living in a conflict zone, such as near Gaza where rockets are fired
While traumatic experiences can always cause the disorted, not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD.
As explained by the National Institute of Mental Health at the US National Institutes of Health , most people who experience trauma are to some extent traumatized and will experience short term symptoms.
However, that is not the same as ongoing or chronic PTSD.
To be considered PTSD, symptoms need to last more than a month and be severe enough to actually interfere with one’s daily life. Some people, like those who only have short-term symptoms, end up recovering within half a year. Most people who experience trauma will only have short term symptoms. But some will develop a chronic case of PTSD.
There are some other things we know about who gets PTSD and why.
For instance, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and physical assault-based trauma is more likely to trigger PTSD than non-physical trauma.
Certain professions also make one more likely to develop PTSD, most notably soldiers, healthcare workers, police officers, journalists and more.
Myth #: Symptoms Of Ptsd Go Away As A Person Heals From Trauma
Symptoms of PTSD can come and go, and can vary in intensity over time. As with an anxiety disorder, stress can exacerbate a person’s PTSD symptoms. Reminders of the trauma, even many years later, can cause long-dormant symptoms to reappear.
people with PTSD commonly cannot control re-experiencing a trauma
It’s called re-experiencing a trauma, and it’s common in people with PTSD. They might experience the same emotions or even physical sensations they felt during a trauma. People with PTSD commonly cannot control re-experiencing a trauma.
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Ptsd And Trauma Treatment In Tennessee
At Cumberland Heights, weve been changing lives since 1966. We understand the connection between trauma, mental illness and addiction. It is our mission to help people to fully recover for life thats why weve created a curriculum rooted in proven, evidence-based modalities. Contact us for more information about our approach to trauma treatment.
Can Civilians Get Ptsd
Individuals may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when they experience, witness or learn about an event involving actual or threatened death, sexual violation, or serious injury. Non-Combat PTSD can affect all ages, genders, income levels, ethnicities and lifestyles.
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Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
EMDR is a trauma-focused psychotherapy approach. It involves recalling a traumatic memory, including the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that come up while doing so.
In some ways, it is similar to exposure treatment. What makes it different is that while recalling the traumatic memory, people are asked to focus their attention on an external stimulus that invokes side-to-side movements of the eyes. It is thought that the side-to-side eye movements help to facilitate the processing of the belief by activating both brain hemispheres.
The National Center for PTSD provides more in-depth information on trauma-focused treatments.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd
PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyones nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While youre most likely to develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four main types of symptoms.
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Private Mental Health Provider
To access a private mental health provider, your best place to start is with your GP, who can provide you with a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health social worker, or mental health occupational therapist, according to your need. The following information may be of assistance:
- To find a psychologist you can also use the Australian Psychological Societyâs Find a Psychologist tool.
- You can also find a list of mental health social workers provided by the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Online Therapy For Trauma And Ptsd
Online therapy is more and more common nowadays and can also be effective in cases of trauma and PTSD. Online therapy focuses on talking about your experience and reprocessing it with guidance from your therapist. It can also involve psychoeducation and an active attitude from your therapist, depending on what training they may have.
In online therapy, you can also choose not to verbally talk about traumatic events and to stay anonymous and chat through text or audio messages. This option can be very convenient to start trauma healing, thanks to:
- Higher accessibility
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Can You Have Ptsd Without Nightmares And Flashbacks
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B. Presence of one of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event, beginning after the traumatic event occurred:
Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event Note: In children older than 6 years, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic event are expressed. Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event. Note:In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content. Dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event were recurring. Note: In children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur in play. Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
The Limitations Of Evidence
I went into court believing, and wanting to say, that her therapy participation was the most stellar that I had ever seenand that there was zero evidence for the diagnosis about deliberately harming children. Instead, my words made their abandonment trauma much worse. It was a tragic irony that I somehow recreated trauma that I first experienced several decades earlier. This time, I was a perpetrator and also, through my empathy, a victim. My PTSD set me onto this mission to save them and was also to blame for why I did the opposite.
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Tip : Reach Out To Others For Support
PTSD can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But its important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. You dont have to talk about the trauma if you dont want to, but the caring support and companionship of others is vital to your recovery. Reach out to someone you can connect with for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen when you want to talk without judging, criticizing, or continually getting distracted. That person may be your significant other, a family member, a friend, or a professional therapist. Or you could try:
Volunteering your time or reaching out to a friend in need. This is not only a great way to connect to others, but can also help you reclaim your sense of control.
Joining a PTSD support group. This can help you feel less isolated and alone and also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery.