Post traumatic stress disorder affects 3 million Americans every year and is considered a very common stress disorder. More people have it than you might think, though, most people never get it treated. As the name implies, PTSD may occur after any traumatic event, and it shows itself in many different forms. It may often be mistaken for depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, though, it may be an “umbrella” so depression and other diagnoses may just be symptoms of PTSD. Treating the disorder directly gets to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms of post traumatic stress.
The distress can be anything, it is stereotypically a result of war and great violence, but it can also be caused. Some people try to downplay their trauma and say it’s not that serious but there’s really no such thing as “mild trauma.”
Trauma is defined as “an event that is frightening or painful that it overwhelms you and interferes with the ways that you usually cope with difficult events in your life.”
Some situations may be a dog attack, a car crash, someone close being in danger, assault, abuse, death, sickness, divorce, and the list goes on and on.
This checklist is taken directly from an adolescent trauma workbook. If you have six or more of the following symptoms, you may choose to seek help from someone you trust, like a doctor or a counselor:
- Having thoughts or memories of the trauma pop into your head even when you don’t want them to
- Having nightmares about the trauma
- Experiencing flashbacks
- Having physical reactions (fast breathing, fast heartbeat, tight muscles) when you are reminded of the trauma
- Experiencing intense feelings (sad, mad, scared) when you are reminded of the trauma
- Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the trauma
- Avoiding anything (people, places, activities) that remind you of the trauma
- Being unable to remember important parts of what happened
- Being uninterested in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling detached from other people
- Being unable to think about a future for yourself
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Being irritable or angry (more than before the trauma)
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Being jumpy and on edge
The first step is to identify there’s a problem, the next step is to figure out a solution. If you think you may have PTSD please get help, this disorder is very treatable.