What to Do If You Think You Might Have PTSD
Updated: May 5
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, affects millions of people around the globe. For a long time, this condition was misunderstood, and even now, there are myths about it. Despite media depictions making it look as though PTSD always consists of panicked flashbacks and drastic reactions, many forms of PTSD are much more insidious, and many times more challenging to diagnose and treat. If you think you have PTSD or even if you aren't completely sure, here are some things you should know.
Signs to Look For
Many people aren't sure what the symptoms of PTSD look like, because these indications can vary dramatically from one person to the next. To put it simply, PTSD is essentially becoming "stuck" in your initial reaction to a traumatic event or series of events. This is often why you will see it depicted as consisting of flashbacks, or traumatic dreams that cause the person to relive the traumatic experience. Right after a major event, most people relive the incident and feel on edge. But for some, these symptoms last for years. You may have PTSD if you continue to relive a traumatic event, isolate yourself to avoid things that remind you of the trauma or experience severe depression and/or hypervigilance. These symptoms are similar to other anxiety and depressive orders, but are distinguished by the severity, as well as the root cause. In order to qualify as PTSD, these symptoms must disrupt your life.
Rape and military combat are two of the most widely known causes of PTSD, but they are far from the only things that cause it. Serious medical issues, domestic or childhood abuse and traffic accidents are also common causes. Major accidents can have a psychological impact even if there aren't physical injuries. PTSD also does not necessarily have to be caused by a single event. Complex PTSD, or CPTSD, is caused by pain and suffering experienced over a period of months or years. Of course, while only a qualified medical professional can diagnose this disorder, it's important to understand that PTSD has many possible causes.
While PTSD can feel insurmountable, there are a number of treatments, both holistic and otherwise, that have had a noticeable impact on the symptoms. Eating a healthy diet, exercising and spending time with people can be beneficial. Clinically it is generally treated with either SSRIs(Such as Zoloft, Paxil, or Prozac) or SNRIs, with one particular SNRI called Effexor having been proven to significantly help with the condition However, having said that, PTSD is a multifaceted issue, treatment will need to be tailored to your individual needs.
PTSD can compromise your daily existence, but by understanding its causes you can increase your chances of being able to lead a happier life. PTSD rarely goes away entirely, but with the right management, sufferers can see a world of difference.
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