What Is Ptsd And How Does It Impact Your Daily Life
Most of us have experienced a traumatic event in our lives and have likely heard of the term PTSD. What exactly is PTSD, though? How do you know if you have it, and what effect does it have on your everyday life?
PTSD is a complex psychological disorder and will require a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist to diagnose. However, if you think this might be something you are going through, then this article will help you better understand how people develop PTSD, what the symptoms look like, and how you can get help.
PTSD is complex and can be difficult to understand, both for the person who has it, and their loved ones. The effects of PTSD can seep into all areas of our lives and make everything much harder. The path to healing can be arduous, but the work you do to help yourself heal can have long-lasting effects too!
Common External Ptsd Triggers
- Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma.
- People, locations, or things that recall the trauma.
- Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day.
- Nature .
- Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events.
- Situations that feel confining .
- Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments.
- Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment.
Talk To A Disability Lawyer About Appealing A Ptsd Denial Or Challenging A Low Disability Rating
A VA disability lawyer will know how to navigate the appeals system and can help you file an appeal. Your appeal options may include:
- Asking for a review of your case from a senior reviewer by requesting a Higher-Level Review.
- Adding additional evidence to your claim and asking them to review it again by filing a Supplemental Claim.
- Appealing your case to a Veterans Law Judge by submitting an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals.
Generally speaking, you have a year from the date you receive notice of your denial or rating to take legal action, though there are some exceptions to this rule, depending on the type of decision you receive Call today to discuss your case with a VA disability lawyer familiar with PTSD ratings and what PTSD does to a person.
Helplessness And Toxic Shame
Due to enduring ongoing or repeated abuse, the survivor can develop a sense of hopelessness that nothing will ever be OK. They can feel so profoundly damaged, they see no hope for anything to get better. When faced with long periods of abuse, it does feel like there is no hope of anything changing. And even when the abuse or trauma stops, the survivor can continue on having these deep core level beliefs of hopelessness. This is intensified by the terribly life-impacting symptoms of complex PTSD that keep the survivor stuck with the trauma, with little hope of this easing.
Toxic shame is a common issue survivors of complex trauma endure. Often the perpetrators of the abuse make the survivor feel they deserved it, or they were the reason for it. Often survivors are made to feel they dont deserve to be treated any better.
Sexual abuse can create a whole added layer of toxic shame, which requires very specific and compassionate therapy, if this is accessible. Often, sexual abuse survivors who are repeatedly enduring this heinous abuse can develop feelings of being dirty, damaged and disgusting when their bodies are violated in this way.
Why Healthy Coping Skills Are Important
If you have PTSD, you are at much greater riskof developing a number of other mental health disorders, includinganxiety disorders, , eating disorders,and substance use disorders. For example, researchers have found that people with PTSD are about six times as likely as someone without PTSD to develop depression and about five times as likely to develop another anxiety disorder.??
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
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 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:
Your therapy should:
Your therapy should:
Ptsd Includes Physical Symptoms Here Are Some Of Them
Our society tends to talk a lot about the ways that post-traumatic stress disorder impacts mental health. But the illness has profound effects across peoples well-being including their physical health.
According to The Body Keeps the Score, a book on trauma by psychiatrist and trauma specialist Bessel Van Der Kolk, physical symptoms with no clear cause are pervasive in traumatized children and adults. Among other physical manifestations, they can include chronic back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, digestive problems, spastic colon/irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue and some forms of asthma, Van Der Kolk wrote.
In order to understand how PTSD manifests physically, its important to understand how PTSD is diagnosed. John Krystal, chief psychiatrist at Yale Medicine and a national expert on PTSD, said that the condition occurs when exposure to extreme life events causes persisting and significant levels of distress and impairment in the ability to engage fully in meaningful relationships and work.
Krystal explained that clinicians look for specific symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and feelings, avoidance in thinking about or addressing the trauma, depression, shame and other negative feelings related to the trauma, feelings of hopelessness and difficulty sleeping, concentrating and relaxing.
Here are some of the ways PTSD affects people physically:
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:
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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that some people develop after a traumatic life event. Usually, this life event is something very upsetting or disturbing, such as combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or sexual assault. Sometimes PTSD develops after less significant events. The effect that this event has on an individual and their reaction to it plays a fundamental role in the development of PTSD.
Living with PTSD can make a person feel constantly uneasy, on-edge, scared and depressed. The symptoms of PTSD affect each person differently. However, there are some side effects and common features that are worth considering when trying to understand what PTSD feels like.
Table of Contents
Ptsd Is A Very Real Illness
PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event, like war combat. Experts estimate 8 million adults have PTSD to varying degrees each year in the United States. Like depression or other mental and behavioral issues, its not something that a person can snap out of.
Symptoms arise anywhere from three months to years after the triggering event. In order to be characterized as PTSD, the person must exhibit these traits:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom . D. installed security cameras in his home to monitor threats and had terrible nightmares.
- At least one avoidance symptom. D. didnt like crowds and would avoid activities that included a lot of people.
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms. D. had a very short fuse and would get frustrated easily when he wasnt understood.
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms, which includes negative self-esteem, guilt, or blame. D. would often say to me, Why do you love me? I dont see what you see.
D. once described his PTSD to me like a constant waiting game for ghosts to jump from around the corner. It was a reminder that bad things happened, and that that feeling might never stop. Loud noises made it worse, like thunder, fireworks, or truck backfire.
There was a time we sat outside watching fireworks, and he held my hand until my knuckles turned white, telling me the only way he could sit through them was to have me next to him.
He also had explosive outbursts of rage, which left me in tears.
Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd
For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:
- learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
- teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
- helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
- gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
- helping to get back into everyday activities.
Trauma Avoidance Signs Of Ptsd
Many survivors will avoid locations, people, or even topics of conversation that remind them of the traumatic event itself. Trauma avoidance signs of PTSD include an aversion to emotions, cognitions, or conversations about the traumatic experience, avoidance of places that cause reminders of the trauma and avoidance of hobbies or activities due to all of the fear surrounding the trauma.
Dissociative symptoms also can set in during the brains attempts at avoidance, including sensations of depersonalization and derealization , as well as general emotional detachment and social alienation.
Many PTSD survivors also find themselves detached from positive feelings, as the brain attempts to build an emotional wall, leaving them with feelings of emptiness or flat demeanors. Many PTSD survivors will also begin to ascribe to the belief that they will not live a full life due to their near-death experiences, causing a host of lifestyle issues as they may avoid long-term planning around jobs, careers, relationships or families.
Things To Remember As You Heal
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Limit screen time
- Don’t isolate yourself
Not following some of these tips can become a risk to your well-being and your overall recovery. The symptoms you are and have been experiencing can be overwhelming and debilitating. Eliminating or minimizing risks can help you find success in treatment and offer you a chance to experience a wonderful quality of life after going through a traumatic experience.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Helping a person with PTSD can be hard on you. You may have your own feelings of fear and anger about the trauma. You may feel guilty because you wish your family member would just forget his or her problems and get on with life. You may feel confused or frustrated because your loved one has changed, and you may worry that your family life will never get back to normal.
All of this can drain you. It can affect your health and make it hard for you to help your loved one. If you’re not careful, you may get sick yourself, become depressed, or burn out and stop helping your loved one.
To help yourself, you need to take care of yourself and have other people help you.
Care for yourself
During difficult times, it is important to have people in your life who you can depend on. These people are your support network. They can help you with everyday jobs, like taking a child to school, or by giving you love and understanding.
You may get support from:
- Family members.
- Members of your religious or spiritual group.
- Support groups.
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.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd
There are a number of symptoms that can occur following exposure to a traumatic event. The symptoms will vary in severity based upon individual makeup, co-occurring mental disorders, and support system.
Persistent, Invasive, or Intrusive Symptoms symptoms are connected to the precipitating trauma and begin after the event:
- Intrusive, invasive, involuntary distressing memories of the events
- Dissociative episodes during which the individual feels they are re-experiencing the event
- Prolonged emotional distress when faced with triggers of the trauma
- Physiological reactions to triggers of the event
Avoidance Symptoms these behaviors attempt to reduce the level of suffering of a person by avoiding triggers and memories of the event.
- Avoidance people, places, activities, conversations, objections, and situations that may lead to disconcerting thoughts, feelings, or memories of the trauma
- Efforts made to avoid anything that triggers distressing memories, feelings, or thoughts of the event
Negative Mood Symptoms these symptoms begin with the event and worsen over time
- Inability to remember parts of the traumatic event
- Negative beliefs about oneself, others, or the world
- Distorted thoughts about the trauma that lead to assigning blame for the event to themselves or another person
- Constant negative mood state
- Inability to feel positive emotions
Alterations in Arousal Symptoms:
Other symptoms of PTSD may include:
How Many People Did You Kill
Many people with PTSD have feelings of guilt and shame. A veteran may have survivors guilt for living when others didn’t or feel they could have done something differently that would have saved a life. This is a symptom, not a factand can be made worse by probing for details.
Be sympathetic and understanding, and if the person wants to talk, let them, says Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH, a retired military psychiatrist and member of the American Psychiatric Association. If not, dont push them.
For Mackenzie, a 24-year-old survivor of sexual assault, the wrong question is: What do you mean you were raped?””When people question experience, theyre disqualifying the way I was assaulted,” she says.
A better question to ask is: What was your experience like? This way, a person with PTSD can share only the details they are comfortable talking about. Or, you can always say, “I’m sorry.”
What Is Ptsd And What Can We Do About It
Our society still faces a huge battle in understanding mental illnesses, even now with all of our advances in technology. In America alone, 43.8 million people suffer from a mental illness every year.
The most common mental illnesses are clinical depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, dementia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most people have heard of these disorders, if not suffer from one of them or know someone who does.
However, there is another type of mental illness that anyone is susceptible to at any time. We have no control over when and if we develop it, and it can completely change our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Were talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many of us only have a vague understanding of what PTSD is, how it happens and how it affects people. When we think of PTSD we typically think of the soldier who has just returned home and cant re-adjust to civilian life.
However, PTSD can be caused by many things and affect absolutely anyone, not just soldiers in extreme situations. Lets take a deeper look at what PTSD is, what causes it, and what we can do to treat it and prevent it.
Favorite Online Support Networks
While still a relatively new support system, the ADAAs online group has at least 40,000 subscribers and counting. This free peer-to-peer support groups is exclusively online, so you can still connect with others going through similar struggles with PTSD without the added stress of making a meeting at a specific time.
The Mighty is known for its personal stories about chronic illnesses, disabilities, and mental illnesses, but did you know you can also engage within the community? Bookmark the PTSD page for inspirational stories, and click on “Post a Thought or Ask a Question for support.
When To Seek Help For Ptsd
A person who has experienced a traumatic event should seek professional help if they:
- dont feel any better after two weeks
- feel highly anxious or distressed
- have reactions to the traumatic event that are interfering with home, work and/or relationships
- are thinking of harming themselves or someone else.
Some of the signs that a problem may be developing are:
- being constantly on edge or irritable
- having difficulty performing tasks at home or at work
- being unable to respond emotionally to others
- being unusually busy to avoid issues
- using alcohol, drugs or gambling to cope
- having severe sleeping difficulties.
How Is Ptsd Treated
It is important for anyone with PTSD symptoms to work with a mental health professional who has experience treating PTSD. The main treatments are psychotherapy, medications, or both. An experienced mental health professional can help people find the treatment plan that meets their symptoms and needs.
Some people with PTSD may be living through an ongoing trauma, such as being in an abusive relationship. In these cases, treatment is usually most effective when it addresses both the traumatic situation and the symptoms. People who have PTSD or who are exposed to trauma also may experience panic disorder, depression, substance use, or suicidal thoughts. Treatment for these conditions can help with recovery after trauma. Research shows that support from family and friends also can be an important part of recovery.
For tips to help prepare and guide you on how to talk to your health care provider about your mental health and get the most out of your visit, read NIMHs fact sheet, Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider.
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.
Unexpected Signs You Have High
When most people think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , they envision debilitating anxiety and depression that seems apparent from the outside. But some people exhibit signs of high-functioning PTSD, and they might not be as obvious as you thought. Some people can experience PTSD and still manage to get through their day-to-day lives, but that doesn’t mean their symptoms don’t deserve to be looked at or that they have to live with those emotional hurdles forever.
“What many donât realize is that PTSD is not a direct result of trauma,”John Hamilton, LMFT, LADC and Chief Clinical Outreach Officer at Mountainside Treatment Center, tells Bustle. “Itâs not just the experience that results in PTSD, but how the person responds to that experience internally. It depends on how the person processes and reacts to the traumatic event. A lot of times, an individual will disconnect from themselves and have a hard time being present as a result. An individual with high-functioning PTSD is someone who struggles with the symptoms of this mental illness, but not to the extent where it interferes with everyday activities and relationships.”
The first step to getting the help you need is recognizing that you might be a high-functioning person living with PTSD. Discussing these symptoms with your therapist can help you get a diagnosis and figure out the best forms of treatment. Here are seven unexpected signs you have high-functioning PTSD, according to experts.
Physical And Emotional Effects Of Ptsd
The physical and emotional effects of PTSD have roots in the traumatic event. In the moment, people respond physiologically as their sympathetic nervous system activates the fight-or-flight response; behaviorally as they react to impulses to fight, run, freeze, or avoid; and subjectively with intense thoughts and emotions. When this response is prolonged or reappears, it can become a trauma- and stressor-related disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder . The physical and emotional effects of PTSD can be profound and long-lasting.