Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often linked to military officials and soldiers but broadly affects a variety of individuals. Someone experiencing a traumatic event may have difficulty adjusting to their “new normal” and coping with past stress, but it is possible to find relief with time and self-care. 

Are you or someone you know fighting with PTSD? Read on to learn more. 

What is PTSD?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.”

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Unfortunately, symptoms of PTSD can have a drastic effect on social and work situations, important relationships, and a person’s ability to perform routine tasks.

PTSD is typically grouped into four categories (intrusive memories, avoidance, negative moods, and changing reactions) with a variety of symptoms included under each.

Intrusive memories

  • Recurrent memories of the traumatic event
  • Flashbacks (reliving) the event
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to traumatic stimuli

Avoidance

  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
  • Avoiding places, activities, or people that remind you of the event

Negative Moods

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships (family and friends)
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed

Changing Reactions

  • Easily startled or frightened
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or aggressive behavior
  • Ongoing guilt or shame

Causes and Treatments

Almost anyone can develop PTSD. The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:

  • Combat exposure
  • Childhood physical abuse
  • Sexual violence
  • Physical assault
  • Being threatened with a weapon
  • An accident

The most important factor when seeking treatment is time. Receiving timely support may help your response from developing into PTSD. This includes turning to caring individuals and health professionals for assistance and avoiding negative coping devices like alcohol and drugs.

When should I see a doctor? 

PTSD is not something to be ashamed of. Still, if you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms as a result of a traumatic event, you should seek immediate medical attention. Finding and receiving medical treatment as soon as possible can help to mitigate and ultimately prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse. 

What if I have suicidal thoughts? 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts as a result of PTSD, please seek professional help right away. The Mayo Clinic advises these four steps:

Reach out to a close friend or loved one.

  • Contact a minister, a spiritual leader, or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor or mental health professional.

Seeking Professional Help for PTSD | Seneca Health Services

Have you been a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder? We are passionate about healing our community, and our team is ready to help. 

At Seneca Health Services, we have over 40 years of experience providing behavioral health services throughout southeastern West Virginia. We offer crisis assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year to assist and support individuals, arrange and coordinate treatment services, and ensure that all of your basic needs are met. 

If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact Seneca Health at 888.SENECA9 or use the link provided. We know it’s hard to take the first step –– let us help.