Symptoms of PTSD
Do you know of someone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic accident, a tornado, or war? If you do, then you need to be aware of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for there is a strong chance that person may be suffering from it. Anyone at any age can have PTSD. It can appear immediately following the traumatic event or be a delayed reaction months or years later. It makes the person feel stressed and afraid long after the danger has passed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder causes ongoing anxiety and affects the person’s quality of life and those who are close.
Causes of PTSD
According to NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), PTSD is caused by living through or seeing something that’s upsetting. This can include, but not limited to:
- Being a victim of or seeing violence
- The death or serious illness of a loved one
- War or combat
- Car accidents and plane crashes
- Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires
- Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting.
Signs of Possible PTSD
If you believe someone you care about (including yourself) may have some of the following PTSD symptoms, contact your doctor or a mental health professional:
- Bad dreams
- Flashbacks, or feeling like the scary event is happening again
- Scary thoughts you can’t control
- Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened
- Feeling worried, guilty, or sad
- Feeling alone
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling on edge
- Angry outbursts
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
PTSD is Ageless
PTSD is not limited to adults, children can have this illness too. Children may exhibit PTSD symptoms such as:
- Behaving like they did when they were younger
- Being unable to talk
- Complaining of stomach problems or headaches a lot
- Refusing to go places or play with friends
- Difficulties in school affecting grades, behavior, and peer relationships
How to Get Help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is an illness that is treatable. The first step in PTSD treatment is to contact a physician who can refer you to a mental health professional experienced in treating people with the above symptoms. After an evaluation, treatment may include talk therapy sessions and medication for a few months or for a year or more. It is difficult to determine the length of therapy since treatment is designed for each person’s needs.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is more common in war Veterans and in women. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Sharing feelings with a trained professional can help put everything in perspective again. Remember, it not only affects the traumatized person, it also affects family and friends.
For more information, contact NIMH at 1-800-273-8255 and www.nimh.nih.gov