Anyone who has experienced a traumatic experience can suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though it is most commonly referred to when it comes to those who have served in the military, PTSD is not exclusive to servicemen and women. In fact, an estimated 70% of adults in the US have experienced a traumatic event, and as many as 20% go on to develop PTSD. Those who have experienced one or several of the following situations are more likely to develop PTSD:
- Domestic violence, neglect
- Rape, sexual abuse
- Loss of a loved one
- Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
- Random acts of violence
- Car accidents, natural disasters, or terrorism
Some of the situations are more likely to cause PTSD, such as rape, than others, like natural disasters. As you can tell from the statistics above, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Signs and Symptoms Of PTSD
If you’ve suffered from a traumatic event and believe you may be suffering from PTSD, here are some common symptoms that may help a mental health professional determine your diagnosis:
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings. After extreme trauma, you may experience a change in the way you feel about yourself, others, your religion, politics, etc. This may cause you to feel detached from these things, which affects your relationships.
- Behavioral changes. Your traumatic event may cause you to behave, physically, in different ways. This can include a newfound jittery behavior, arousal, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, a constant need to be on the lookout for danger and being easily startled.
- Avoidance of situations that remind you of your traumatic event. No one could blame you for wanting to avoid situations that remind you of your trauma but when you begin to avoid things that remind you of the event, such as avoiding tv shows that portray a similar situation, this can be life altering.
- Reliving the traumatic event. Remembering and often thinking about the event is unavoidable. But reliving the event, through flashbacks and nightmares, is a symptom of PTSD.
Experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time means you may be suffering from PTSD. In that case, it is important to seek a diagnosis, and afterwards, treatment from a therapist.
How Can A Therapist Help?
Treatment will differ for everyone based on your experiences and what type is most likely to help you. A type of treatment many experience with the help of a therapist is exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy, as you may guess, is a type of therapy that exposes you to your fears, in a safe environment. You won’t be physically exposed, but you’ll be asked to speak about your trauma, in detail. The hope is that you’ll slowly come to terms with what happened, through “exposing” yourself to it. By repeatedly talking about this experience, you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
Thriveworks McDonough counseling for PTSD can help treat these symptoms. The most successful way to treat symptoms is by working with a therapist. If you’re suffering from PTSD, please seek the help of a professional and experienced Thriveworks McDonough therapist to help lessen your symptoms. Call 678-853-5849 to schedule today.