Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How To Know If You Have Ptsd

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How Is Ptsd Measured

Deciding if someone has PTSD can involve several steps. The diagnosis of PTSD is most often made by a mental health provider. To diagnose PTSD, a mental health provider measures, assesses, or evaluates PTSD symptoms you may have had since the trauma.

You can ask any provider, you can ask your primary care physician. ‘You can even say, I’d like to be assessed for PTSD.’

Dr. Abigail Angkaw

No Outside Explanation For Symptoms

Lastly, to be accurately diagnosed with PTSD, your symptoms cant be attributed to any medications, illegal drugs or outside illnesses.

If youve experienced the above symptoms after a difficult call and symptoms have persisted 30 days or more, you may have PTSD. But this shouldnt be cause for despair. Realizing that you are dealing with PTSD is the first step to relief. Recognizing your own personal experiences in this collection of symptoms isnt a sign of weakness its a sign that you need treatment, and help is available. Designed exclusively for fire fighters and paramedics, the IAFF Center of Excellence can help you work through PTSD and get back to a life you love. Reach out to a representative today for more information.

Medical Disclaimer: The IAFF Center of Excellence aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

How Do You Know If You Have Ptsd

Most people will have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD as it is commonly called. It affects around seven to eight percent of the population of the USA, so it could be that you are suffering without even realizing, or you might have suspicions that you have PTSD, but youre just not sure.

Its important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible to allow you to start treatment quicker and your life can return to normal. Even if you are not cured of your PTSD, learning how to handle the symptoms and live your life how you want is crucial for your happiness. So, how can you determine if you have PTSD?

How Is Ptsd Treated By The Nhs

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says that the NHS should offer treatment if you have a diagnosis of PTSD. Or you have important symptoms of PTSD. The treatment that you are offered should be the following:

  • Trauma focussed cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing
  • Supported trauma-focused computerised cognitive behavioural therapy
  • CBT to target an issue
  • Medication

You can refer yourself for trauma therapies in most areas. Click the below link to search for psychological therapy services in your area:

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting may be suggested if you have mild symptoms of PTSD. Or the trauma has happened within the last 4 weeks. This means that your symptoms should be monitored, and you should have a follow up appointment in 1 month.

Watchful waiting is sometimes recommended because 2 in every 3 people who experience a trauma will recover without treatment.

What is trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy ?

Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you deal with your symptoms by making changes to how you think and act.

Your therapy should:

  • be delivered by a trained practitioner,
  • last between 8-12 sessions. You can have more if needed. For example, if you have had different or repeated traumas,
  • include psychoeducation about:
  • help you how to process trauma related emotions, such as shame and guilt,
  • help you to manage relationships,
  • help you to deal with avoidance, and
  • Your therapy should:

    Your therapy should:

    Tip 4: Support Ptsd Treatment With A Healthy Lifestyle

    3 Ways to Tell if You Have PTSD

    The symptoms of PTSD can be hard on your body so its important to take care of yourself and develop some healthy lifestyle habits.

    Take time to relax. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, or yoga can activate the bodys relaxation response and ease symptoms of PTSD.

    Avoid alcohol and drugs. When youre struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, interferes with treatment, and can add to problems in your relationships.

    Eata healthy diet. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Omega-3s play a vital role in emotional health so incorporate foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit processed food, fried food, refined starches, and sugars, which can exacerbate mood swings and cause fluctuations in your energy.

    Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can trigger anger, irritability, and moodiness. Aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual and make your bedroom as quiet, dark, and soothing as possible.

    Next Steps For Ptsd Research

    In the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.

    • NIMH-funded researchers are exploring trauma patients in acute care settings to better understand the changes that occur in individuals whose symptoms improve naturally.
    • Other research is looking at how fear memories are affected by learning, changes in the body, or even sleep.
    • Research on preventing the development of PTSD soon after trauma exposure is also under way.
    • Other research is attempting to identify what factors determine whether someone with PTSD will respond well to one type of intervention or another, aiming to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments.
    • As gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to improve, scientists are more likely to be able to pinpoint when and where in the brain PTSD begins. This understanding may then lead to better targeted treatments to suit each persons own needs or even prevent the disorder before it causes harm.

    What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    You feel on edge. Nightmares keep coming back. Sudden noises make you jump. Youre staying at home more and more. Could you have posttraumatic stress disorder ?

    If you have experienced severe trauma or a life-threatening event whether during a time of war or in a noncombat situation you may develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress, or what is commonly known as PTSD. Maybe during the event you felt as if your life or the lives of others were in danger or that you had no control over what was happening. While in the military, you may have witnessed people being injured or dying, or you may have experienced physical harm yourself.

    Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories or  of the event, , loss of interest, and feelings of numbness, anger or irritability, or being constantly on guard, but there are many ways PTSD can impact your everyday life. Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface for months or even years after the event occurred or after returning from deployment. They may also come and go. If these problems persist or they’re disrupting your daily life, you may have PTSD.

    Some factors can increase the likelihood of a traumatic event leading to PTSD, such as:

    • The intensity of the trauma
    • Post-Vietnam War Era
    • Vietnam War Era
    • Post Korean War Era
    • WW II through Korean War Era

    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.

    Risk Factors For Covid Ptsd

    People who suffer from COVID long-hauler syndrome, a condition where the symptoms of COVID-19 linger for several weeks or months after a person tests negative for the virus, may be at an increased risk for COVID PTSD over time, says Allison Chawla, LMSW, a psychotherapist, spiritual counselor and certified life coach in New York.

    “Prolonged endurance and tolerance of symptoms can absolutely cause depression and over time trigger PTSD,” Chawla says.

    According to Sarah Harte, LICSW, director of The Dorm D.C. in Washington, D.C., other risk factors for COVID PTSD include:

    • Being treated in the ICU for the virus
    • Having pre-existing comorbidities, such as other mental health problems like anxiety and/or depression
    • Being a frontline health care worker or the family members of a frontline worker

    But COVID PTSD can happen to anyone who experiences a significant enough level of anxiety, depression, fear and isolation, notes Chawla.

    Here are some red flags that signal you or a loved one might be suffering from COVID PTSD.

    Be Honest With Friends And Loved Ones

    Though it can be understandably difficult putting your experience with COVID PTSD into words, especially to loved ones who might not understand or be as empathetic as you’d hope, it’s important to do so, Berman says.

    In fact, she says that accurately expressing to others how you’re feeling and the ways in which you’ve been affected by COVID is one of the most effective ways to help manage your symptoms.

    “Communicate to your loved ones how COVID PTSD is affecting your daily life and the ways in which they can potentially help or be more understanding in certain situations,” she says. “As with anything, positive communication with others is imperative to maintaining strong relationships and keeping your own mental and physical wellbeing intact.”

    The Types Of Anxiety Disorders:

    There are five kinds of anxiety disorders, from OCD to PTSD, to Social anxiety disorders to generalized anxiety disorders.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Prolonged stress can easily develop into an anxiety disorder. In this case, the type of disorder you will likely develop wont be PTSD or a panic disorder, which often result after trauma and are triggered by reminders. Instead, anxiety disorders that develop from prolonged stress are known as Generalized Anxiety Disorders or GAD.

    Ptsd: 5 Signs You Need To Know

    According to the National Center for PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, about 8 million Americans have PTSD during a given year. Women are more likely to develop PTSD, with a lifetime incidence of 1 in 10. For men, its 1 in 25.

    Yet an even higher number of Americans experience trauma each year. So when does suffering a traumatic event lead to suffering from a traumatic disorder?

    PTSD is a mental health diagnosis characterized by five events or symptoms, says Dr. Chad Wetterneck, PhD, clinical supervisor for Rogers Behavioral Health.

    Here, Dr. Wetterneck walks us through each sign:

  • A life threatening event. This includes a perceived-to-be life threatening event. Whether or not it actually is, its really about the perception of the person who experienced or witnessed the event that it could happen to them again.
  • Internal reminders of the event. These symptoms typically present as nightmares or flashbacks. Its important to realize that these are not simply memories. They are unwanted, intrusive episodes in which a person feels as though they are in the life threatening situation again like theyre watching a movie or seeing it unfold in front of them. It feels very real to them.
  • Avoidance of external reminders. Those with PTSD often do whatever they can to not think about their traumatic event, to suppress the feelings associated with it. They might avoid alleys if they were assaulted in one, or they might refuse to drive if they were in a car accident.
  • What Can I Do If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

    3 Ways to Tell if You Have PTSD

    If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

    • talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
    • ask for a second opinion,
    • ask a relative, friend or advocate to help you speak your doctor,
    • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
    • make a complaint.

    There is more information about these options below.

    Treatment options

    You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.

    Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.

    Second opinion

    A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.

    You dont have a legal right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.


    An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.

    There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.

    You can find out more about:

    What Does It Feel Like To Have Ptsd

    The person can experience flashbacks in which they relive the traumatic event or events. This can cause symptoms like a racing heart or sweating. The person also can have reoccurring dreams or memories related to the event, upsetting thoughts, and feelings of irritability and anger. A person with PTSD can be easily startled, feel tense and on edge, have difficulty concentrating, falling asleep or staying asleep, and engage in risky, destructive, or reckless behavior.1

    Other symptoms of PTSD include sadness, anger, and feeling withdrawn. The person can feel detached or disconnected from themselves or from the world, says Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California.

    Tip 3: 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.

    Getting Professional Help For Ptsd

    If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, its important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is treated, the easier it is to overcome. If youre reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.

    Its only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, PTSD will only get worse. You cant escape your emotions completelythey emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guardand trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.

    Why you should seek help for PTSD

    Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.

    PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.

    #2 Flashbacks Of The Traumatic Situation

    This one ties in with the first point. Having flashbacks of the same trauma makes you more likely to self isolate out of fear.

    Moreover, people asking can you have from a relationship often become aware only after they recognize this pattern. 

    While unsavory, its difficult to control your thoughts at the moment. 

    It might even make you react or lash out in a way thats unlikely of you. 

    What Can I Do If I Think I Have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    In addition to getting treatment, you can adjust your lifestyle to help relieve PTSD symptoms. For example, talking with other Veterans who have experienced trauma can help you connect with and trust others; exercising can help reduce physical tension; and volunteering can help you reconnect with your community. You also can let your friends and family know when certain places or activities make you uncomfortable.

    I wanted to keep the war away from my family, but I brought the war with me every time I opened the door. It helps to talk with them about how I feel.

    Your close friends and family may be the first to notice that youre having a tough time. Turn to them when you are ready to talk. It can be helpful to share what youre experiencing, and they may be able to provide support and help you find the right treatment for you.

    Which Factors Differentiate The Diagnosis Of Ptsd From The Diagnosis Of Adjustment Disorder

    PTSD falls under the category of trauma- and stressor-related disorders, explains Thomas D. Harpley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, California, while an adjustment disorder is an anxiety disorder. An adjustment disorder may involve depression, anxiety, and disturbances of emotions, he says. Typically, an adjustment disorder is not trauma-related, he says.

    The symptoms of an adjustment disorder must occur within three months of a stressful life event or change, and must not be due to another mental health disorder.4 An adjustment disorder doesnt last longer than six months, Harpley says. If it lasts longer than that, by definition it is not an adjustment disorder and PTSD should be considered.

    Ptsd Rates By Theater Of Conflict

    Veterans with PTSD vary by the era of service. In the Vietnam War era, about 15 out of every 100 Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD. In the Gulf War-era, about 12 of every 100 Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD. During Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, about 11 to 20 of every 100 Veterans were diagnosed with PTSD.

    Is Ptsd A Disability

    3 Ways to Tell if You Have PTSD

    PTSD can be considered a disability; cases are approved by the Social Security Administration if the circumstances meet the established criteria. However, getting disability from the SSA can be a long and frustrating process, with the majority of applicants waiting almost two years for the benefits to start.

    Veterans may be eligible for disability benefits through VA Compensation if they meet requirements like:

    • The traumatic event happened during service or was made worse by service
    • The Veteran must not be able to function in work activities
    • A doctor’s diagnosis of PTSD

    Another type of aide for Veterans is service dogs. Veterans sometimes have specially trained service animals that help them perform tasks or give reminders to take medications. They can even calm a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack. Service animals are working animals and not pets. Some service members are eligible for these types of benefits through the VA.

    Ptsd In Military Veterans

    For all too many veterans, . You may have a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly feel on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But its important to know that youre not alone and there are plenty of ways you can deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.

    You Feel Anxious Or On Edge

    People who suffer from PTSD often experience what’s known as hyperarousal or hypervigilance, which means you’re significantly more aware of your surroundings, Harte says.

    “Hyperarousal interferes with sleep, concentration and can cause people to be easily startled,” she says. “People who experience hyperarousal have difficulty managing unexpected events which is especially difficult during this pandemic when so much is unexpected and different from our lives pre-pandemic and often avoid circumstances that cause anxiety.”

    This avoidance, she goes on to explain, can lead to other undesirable effects, including isolation and disconnection from personal relationships.

    Adverse Childhood Experiences Test

    The ACE Study is one of the largest scientific research studies of its kind, with over 17,000 mostly middle income Americans participating.  The focus was to analyze the relationship between childhood trauma and the risk for physical and mental illness in adulthood.

    Over the course of a decade, the results demonstrated a strong, graded relationship between the level of traumatic stress in childhood and poor physical, mental and behavioral outcomes later in life. No new study participants are being accepted into the study.  However, you might like to know your own ACE Score.

    Take the test.

    What Is The Treatment For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    If you show signs of PTSD, you don’t just have to live with it. In recent years, researchers have dramatically increased our understanding of what causes PTSD and how to treat it. Hundreds of thousands of Veterans who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard have gotten treatment for PTSD and found significant relief from their symptoms.

    Two types of treatment have been shown to be effective for treating PTSD: counseling and medication. Professional therapy or counseling can help you understand your thoughts and reactions and help you learn techniques to cope with challenging situations. Research has shown several specific types of counseling to be very effective for treating PTSD. Medications can also be used to help reduce tension or irritability or to improve sleep. The class of medications most commonly used for PTSD is called “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors,” but a doctor can work with you to figure out which medication works best for you.

    “In therapy I learned how to respond differently to the thoughts that used to get stuck in my head.”

    In just a few months, these treatments can produce positive and meaningful changes in your symptoms and quality of life. They can help you understand and change how you think about your trauma and how you react to stressful memories.

    You may need to work with your doctor or counselor and try different types of treatment before finding the one thats best for dealing with your PTSD symptoms.

    How Accurate Is It

    This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.

    Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

    Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

    This interactive PTSD quiz is based upon the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD and has been structured in a manner to allow for a short and simple self-assessment. If you think you may have , Psycom strongly recommends that you seek help from a doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support.

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