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How Are People Diagnosed With Ptsd

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PTSD can affect a personâs ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem uninterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help. This can lead to loved ones feeling shut out.

It is important to remember that these behaviours are part of the problem. People with PTSD need the support of family and friends but may not understand what is happening to them or think that they need help.

When PTSD goes on for some time, it is not unusual for people to experience other mental health problems at the same time. In fact, up to 80 per cent of people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems – most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or other substance misuse. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or as a result of the effects of having PTSD.

What Should I Know About Participating In Clinical Research

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.

How Many People Suffer From Ptsd

Its estimated that about 7 to 8 percent of the population will deal with it at some point in their lives.

Thinking of PTSD as something limited to war veterans is a problem because it can blind us to the condition of people around usand even to ourselves.

Not only does that make it impossible for people with PTSD to get help, it also increases the likelihood that they will end up battling addiction as well.

Indeed, 53 percent of people who abuse drugs also have at least one mental illness diagnosis, according to the American Medical Association.

Some people with PTSD experience flashbacks or nightmares, but other common symptoms include hopelessness, anxiety, difficulty experiencing pleasure and loss of interest in life.

Its easy to see how someone experiencing those feelings would do anything to escape them, even self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

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Children And Young People

For children and young people with PTSD, trauma-focused CBT is usually recommended.

This normally involves a course of 8-12 sessions that have been adapted to suit the childs age, circumstances and level of development. Where appropriate, treatment includes consulting with and involving the child’s family.

Treatment with medication isn’t usually recommended for children and young people with PTSD.

How Can I Find Help

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, an online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs in your state. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

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Free Brochures And Shareable Resources

  • Helping Children and Adolescents Cope With Traumatic Events: This fact sheet presents information on how children and adolescents respond to traumatic events, and what family, friends, and trusted adults can do to help. Also available en español.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This brochure provides information about post-traumatic stress disorder including what it is, who develops PTSD, symptoms, treatment options, and how to find help for yourself or someone else who may have PTSD. Also available en español.
  • : Help support PTSD awareness and education in your community. Use these digital resources, including graphics and messages, to spread the word about PTSD.

Facts About How Common Ptsd Is

The following statistics are based on the U.S. population:

  • About 6 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 8 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.

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Research And Statistics: How Common Is Ptsd

Research suggests nearly 90 percent of people in the United States are exposed to a traumatic event in their lifetime, but only 5 to 10 percent develop PTSD. About 7 to 8 percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PTSD. An estimated 10 percent of women will develop PTSD in their lives, compared with 4 percent of men.

The reason women may be more statistically affected by PTSD than men may have less to do with concrete prevalence and more to do with diagnosis rates: Theyre more likely than men to seek help, says the VA.

Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd

This Is How Trauma Leads to PTSD

PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyone’s nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While you’re 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.

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense mental or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
  • Avoidance and numbing, such as avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, being unable to remember aspects of the ordeal, a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others and a sense of a limited future.
  • Hyperarousal, including sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance , feeling jumpy or easily startled, angry outbursts, and aggressive, self-destructive, or reckless behavior.
  • Negative thought and mood changes like feeling alienated and alone, difficulty concentrating or remembering, depression and hopelessness, feeling mistrust and betrayal, and feeling guilt, shame, or self-blame.
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    Treatment And Medication Options For Ptsd

    Medical professionals say self-education is the first step toward identifying a proper treatment plan. Theres an emotional benefit to reading up on PTSD as well: When they understand what theyre experiencing is normal within the circumstances they have been through, theres a real relief in that, Pole says.

    Finding A Therapist For Ptsd

    When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.

    Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut if a therapist doesn’t feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.

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    Ptsd Checklist For Dsm

    Patients can also use the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, or PCL-5, to assess their symptoms. Composed of 20 questions, this report was created by the National Center for PTSD of the Department of Veterans Affairs and is used widely because it can offer support throughout a persons PTSD journey.

    In addition to supporting self-assessment with PTSD, it can also be used after a diagnosis to monitor symptoms. Therefore, it acts both as a tool for diagnosis and one for assessing symptoms to understand improvement.

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    PTSD can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. You don’t have to talk about the trauma if you don’t 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.

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    Why Can It Be Difficult To Obtain A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis

    • It can be difficult for someone who is suffering from PTSD to recognize that they have a problem, especially if the symptoms appear after a length of time following the traumatic event.
    • PTSD is extremely isolating, making it even more difficult to get help.
    • Individuals believe they can manage their symptoms and recover without outside help.
    • Avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD, which makes it hard for someone to face his or her problems.
    • People suffering from PTSD often feel misplaced guilt about the event. Since they bear a measure of blame, they believe their pain is a punishment.
    • It can be impossible for someone suffering from PTSD to realize the connection of trauma and their symptoms if there is a delayed reaction to the trauma.
    • Some traumatic events are embarrassing and people dont want to share painful events with others.

    Who Is At Risk For Post

    You can develop PTSD at any age. Many risk factors play a part in whether you will develop PTSD. They include:

    • Your sex women are more likely to develop PTSD
    • Having had trauma in childhood
    • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
    • Going through a traumatic event that lasts a long time
    • Having little or no social support after the event
    • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
    • Having a history of mental illness or substance use

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    Who Are Some Celebrities And Famous People With Ptsd

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen to anyone, and there are many celebrities and famous people with PTSD who have come forward to share their stories.

    Following the experience of a traumatic event, its not uncommon for people to suffer from anxiety and intense posttraumatic symptoms.

    If these symptoms persist for more than several months, then PTSD could be diagnosed.

    People who are at risk for PTSD include individuals with a history of child abuse, those that lack social support, as well as people who experience on-going chronic stress or another psychiatric disorder.

    Other Effects Of Ptsd

    What Is C-PTSD? (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

    If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you might also find that you have difficulty with some everyday aspects of your life, such as:

    • looking after yourself
    • remembering things and making decisions
    • coping with change
    • simply enjoying your leisure time.

    If you drive you may have to tell the DVLA that you have PTSD. For more information on your right to drive, including when and how to contact the DVLA, see our legal pages on .

    My behaviour changed and became erratic. I would alternate from wanting to shut myself away and not see or talk to anyone to going out to parties in the middle of the week and staying out late.

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    What Can I Do To Help Myself

    It is important to know that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment. Here are some things you can do to help yourself:

    • Talk with your health care provider about treatment options, and follow your treatment plan.
    • Engage in exercise, mindfulness, or other activities that help reduce stress.
    • Try to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep.
    • Set realistic goals and do what you can as you are able.
    • Spend time with trusted friends or relatives, and tell them about things that may trigger symptoms.
    • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
    • Avoid use of alcohol or drugs.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Post

    There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way. The types are:

    • Re-experiencing symptoms, where something reminds you of the trauma and you feel that fear again. Examples include
    • Flashbacks, which cause you to feel like you are going through the event again
    • Frightening thoughts
  • Avoidance symptoms, where you try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. This may cause you to
  • Stay away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience. For example, if you were in a car accident, you might stop driving.
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event. For example, you might try to stay very busy to try to avoid thinking about what happened.
  • Arousal and reactivity symptoms, which may cause you to be jittery or be on the lookout for danger. They include
  • Being easily startled
  • Cognition and mood symptoms, which are negative changes in beliefs and feelings. They include
  • Trouble remembering important things about the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about yourself or the world
  • Feeling blame and guilt
  • No longer being interested in things you enjoyed
  • Trouble concentrating
  • The symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event. But sometimes they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.

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    The Number Of Veterans With Ptsd Varies By Service Era

    • Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
    • Gulf War About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans have PTSD in a given year.
    • Vietnam WarAbout 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study . It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.

    Other factors in a combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation. This may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems. These factors include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where the war is fought, and the type of enemy you face.

    Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma . This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while you are in the military. MST can happen to both men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war. Among Veterans who use VA health care, about:

    • 23 out of 100 women reported sexual assault when in the military.
    • 55 out of 100 women and 38 out of 100 men have experienced sexual harassment when in the military.

    There are many more male Veterans than there are female Veterans. So, even though military sexual trauma is more common in women Veterans, over half of all Veterans with military sexual trauma are men.

    Coping Methods For Managing Ptsd Symptoms

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    Beyond formal mental health care approaches, several self-help methods may prove valuable in managing PTSD symptoms. These practices are widely recommended by mental health experts as solutions that veterans can utilize in their spare time or when exposed to particular stressors. These techniques may be suggested as a complement to ongoing mental health treatment.

    • Physical activity: Exercise can help relieve stress and elevate ones mood.
    • Aromatherapy: Certain smells, such as orange essential oil, may mitigate negative emotions associated with PTSD.
    • Mindfulness practices: From formal meditation to simply noticing ones senses, practicing being present can reduce trauma reactivity.
    • Deep breathing:This seemingly simple technique can be surprisingly effective, and is available anytime, anywhere.

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    Ive Been Diagnosed With Ptsd What Do I Do

    If you have recently been told you have post-traumatic stress disorder then you might feel worried or frightened by what this diagnosis means. Perhaps having a name for how you have been feeling up until now has given you some comfort. No matter how you feel, the biggest thing to know is that you arent alone. Were right here beside you as are many other people and organisations.

    In the UK, it is estimated that one in four people experience a mental health problem each year, with 4.4 in 100 being diagnosed with PTSD. According to the NHS, post-traumatic stress disorder affects 1 in 3 people who have a traumatic experience, such as a car crash, be sexually abused, physical assault, near death involvement, time in military combat, witnessing a serious event, being involved in a natural disaster, or many other types of events.

    In order to help you cope with your post-traumatic stress disorder, there are many hugely beneficial organisations set up to work with you and offer support, both emotionally and physically. From the NHS to SAMH and Mind, PTSD UK to the Samaritans whoever it is you need, youll hopefully feel supported through your diagnosis towards a pathway of rehabilitation and recovery.

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