Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is perhaps best known as something which affects combat soldiers. In reality, anyone who goes through an emotionally traumatizing event can be affected. According to one expert who has been treating patients with PTSD for more than two decades, more than 50 percent of the general population goes through an experience which could trigger PTSD. Another 25 percent undergo that kind of event two or more times during their lifetime.
PTSD is more about a person’s ability to process and move beyond the trauma than it is about any certain type of event. Most people who experience an intense event such as natural disaster, violent crime, death or separation from a loved one will spend several days feeling normal physiological responses. They may be unable to sleep or have nightmares when they do sleep, they may feel overly anxious or unusually irritable. These are part of the body’s normal fight or flight responses to extreme stress.
However, when these symptoms persist for weeks or months, then the body is reacting in a way that is not healthy. The stress response is being hyper-activated. For the person with PTSD, they do not merely remember how afraid they felt during the event…they continue to feel that sense of fear long after the event has passed.
Five to 10 percent of men and seven to 14 percent of women in this country deal with the condition. The good news is that PTSD can be overcome and the sooner the symptoms are recognized and addressed, the better. If the memory of a traumatizing event is robbing you of peace, sleep and a normal life don’t put off talking to someone about it. Call Family Guidance today where our mental health professionals are available to help you begin the road to recovery.