Lifeline Connections

Understanding PTSD

The unpredictability of fast-paced, life-changing events are always keeping us on our toesin anticipation, yet there are some things in life that we can never be prepared for, which can change our lives forever. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is formally known as a mood disorder accented by the presence of anxiety. PTSD develops when someone comes face to with face with a life-threatening event. There are many types of traumatic events that can result in PTSD, including severe combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, or assault. Not everyone who experiences these situations will develop PTSD, but anyone could and how it is expressed may differ from individual to individual. About 7.7 millions of Americans could meet for a diagnoses in PTSD. The presence of PTSD can increase the risk of developing other mental health issues like drug problems, anxiety or depression.

There are many symptoms that someone with PTSD might experience but some are more common than others. Many might relive the events of the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares. These can be uncontrollable and caused by certain triggers in the environment, that to others may seem unrelated. Due to the presence of triggers, or things that might remind a survivor of the traumatic event in everyday life, it is also common for people to try and avoid places or activities that might actively serve as these triggers. This can be very impairing towards
their lives as they might be avoiding important responsibilities at all costs, because of the presences of triggers in the environment. Any trauma can be very damaging towards how an individual views the world; afterwards, they may have a more negative outlook due to a shift towards more negative feelings and thoughts about the world around them. They might also show signs of being jittery or jumpy, also known as hyperarousal. These are all very natural responses which can all be effectively treated to reduce their negative impact on individuals who might be experiencing PTSD. While it may be normal to experience upsetting memories, if the symptoms of PTSD last longer than a few months it can be diagnosed as PTSD.

There is effective treatment for PTSD including several forms of therapy that can improve symptoms. Among these therapies are prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. All of these therapies help individuals cope with their trauma and memories related to an event by targeting the route of the problem and helping individuals learn how to process their memories and feelings in a more positive way, so that it no longer interferes with their livelihoods. There are also some medications that, along with therapy, can be very beneficial in treating PTSD, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Although, psychologists and therapists may not fully understand an individual’s traumatic experience, they can still provide people with strategies and the support that they need to cope with their thoughts and feelings surrounding the incident.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mood disorder, feel free to contact Lifeline Connections for help! The sooner you get help and talk to someone, the sooner you will be able to feel better. You can visit or call 360.397.8246 for more information.

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