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Traumatic events can often have a lasting impact on the mind and may result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. The symptoms they entail can include depression, anxiety, and hypervigilance. Despite being around for over a century, PTSD was not placed on the official psychiatric list until 1980 under “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Essentially, it is a disorder that a traumatic injury or psychological shock has caused. PTSD can have a variety of effects on those who suffer from it. For example, the person could be more susceptible to sleep difficulties associated with chronic anxiety or have recurrent intrusive memories related to the trauma. In addition, PTSD can affect everyone in an individual’s life to some degree, including their co-workers and loved ones.
It is tough when an individual’s loved one with PTSD has thoughts and cannot communicate appropriately with others. It can be hard to understand them, but most importantly, they cannot let symptoms from those who have PTSD prevent them from being affectionate and showing love. Muldoon et al. (2021) assert that some problems people struggling with PTSD can experience include proximity and communication, which might cause trouble in social interactions. PTSD is a severe and potentially life-changing condition that should be treated promptly so that an individual can live the best quality of life possible. There are many types of treatment options available, including psychotherapy and medication.
How it works
Several factors contribute to the development of PTSD conditions. Foremost, an individual’s occupation and a job can play a significant role in causing traumatic injury. According to Chew et al. (2020), people with PTSD often face stigmatization from others. For instance, people often judge veterans without knowing anything about them, resulting in negative images of people with PTSD. They are often thought to be ‘nuts’ or ‘crazy.’ It causes people with PTSD to feel marginalized and alone when they need to feel supported and safe. PTSD is a severe issue that can come from a variety of sources. It is essential to stay informed about treatment benefits and time off work to know when it is safe to return. An example of this might be when a soldier has a very demanding job in a stressful combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan as an infantryman. As a person goes through the different stages of returning home after they have had time to process their time overseas, it is essential to be aware of any PTSD symptoms and talk with their doctor to manage the psychological condition.
Furthermore, PTSD can bring significant problems to the people that it affects in many different ways as it even falls outside of a career. For instance, someone’s life can be changed forever with a single accident that leads to its onset. Symptoms of PTSD are often challenging to understand and can vary from individual to individual. A range of symptoms can be associated with this disorder, including flashbacks, nightmares, feeling as if you are reliving the event repeatedly, and avoidance tactics like avoiding situations or large crowds. With the number of people with PTSD increasing, it is often challenging for those with the condition to cope. As a result, many people with PTSD resort to unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol or drug abuse (which might be the only thing they feel they can control) or deliberate self-harm.
Another factor associated with the development of mental trauma is gender, with women reported to be twice as likely to get PTSD compared to men (Lehavot et al., 2018). One of my close friends was in the military and committed suicide because she felt that her PTSD prevented her from being able to control it. Various challenges that the women in the military encounter include rape by their seniors. There is a case report of a young woman who was raped by a trusted noncommissioned officer while serving in the military. She feels hopeless, and although she never wanted to get on an army base, PTSD management has helped her get rid of that mindset.
Returning home after serving in the military might be challenging, but that does not mean you do not have a right to receive help with your mental health. For example, it has been reported that soldiers returning from Iraq in 2002 were met with such a level of PTSD-related murders and mistakes in the justice system that they sparked an entire scandal.
As I returned from Kandahar, I could not help but remember the days of peace and serenity that surrounded me. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May, and my family took me to a restaurant called Skids for lunch. When I entered the restaurant, I had no idea the party that was going on for a young girl. The kids were playing with balloons when suddenly one popped and made a LOT of noise! As soon as I heard the popping noise, I jumped out of my seat and ran outside. I saw one of the kids had accidentally broken a balloon, so it seemed to make sense to stay out. My mom came out of the restaurant and verified that a balloon had been popped, which was true. I remember being ashamed and confused during these times whenever I would be in public because no one seemed to understand me and was judging me due to my random behavior or actions. It was not until later that I realized these people were arousing me from sleep at night because they could not figure out why I acted the way I did when they woke me up. That is when my primary care provider referred me to a psychotherapist. After these stressful panic attacks, I sought help.
Over 8% of Americans have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and there are many ways psychotherapists can identify them. The only way to identify PTSD is through a psychotherapist who asks several questions.
First, the psychotherapist will ask if there is any traumatic event that seems to keep reoccurring within your mind, accompanied by unwanted memories. Second, you will be asked if you try to avoid things that directly remind you of the trauma. If so, then please go on to the next question. The doctor will keep a close eye on your mood and sleep. If you experience symptoms of PTSD, a psychiatric condition that can occur after experiencing one or more traumatic events, it would indicate medical attention. An example would be if someone involved in a bad car accident avoided driving or felt highly anxious about moving to the point that they had to pull over off the road because their trip was very triggering. Traumatized dementia patients often have to re-learn how to interact with people, sometimes even experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They may have anxiety and depression that can trigger the need for medications and therapy. After overcoming all the turmoil, I learned to love life again and enjoy the small things. When I fly an airplane again, it is different. I fear I might die if my plane crashes; if I survive, I feel responsible for whatever happened. It is difficult to live with PTSD, but I know that this is something that will offer me a better quality of life.
It is a fact that PTSD can be cured. Properly maintaining your mind’s condition is necessary to heal PTSD before it becomes chronic and harder to treat. Some therapists, such as those specializing in trauma therapy, argue that the disorder can be cured within one month with proper treatment. Following a wellness recovery plan, establishing and keeping a solid support network, avoiding triggers, and understanding that mental health recovery is a lifelong commitment can aid in eliminating disordered thoughts and feelings. I believe this all depends on each and everyone’s severity of PTSD. Some people battle this condition in different ways, like talking to friends or family members or joining combat PTSD support groups. I highly recommend medication for severe cases if you find that psychotherapy alone will not combat your symptoms.
One way of keeping PTSD at bay is through cognitive therapy and other mental activities. According to Lewis et al. (2020), talk therapy is less time-consuming than traditional therapies and provides immediate relief. This treatment has been quite popular recently due to its success with PTSD patients. Another good technique that psychotherapists use is exposure therapy. This type of therapy is where a therapist exposes patients to the same memories and terrifying situations that gave them PTSD, so they can improve their coping skills as time goes on. This type of therapy is highly beneficial for back flashes and nightmares. With technological advancement, as part of my treatment plan, I was put into a virtual reality setting within an artificial airplane. Virtual Reality Therapy is helpful for not only insomnia but trauma as well. Progressively, technology has helped to implement teletherapy to help veterans manage PTSD conditions effectively and efficiently (Turgoose, Ashwick, and Murphy, 2018, p. 579). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a proven treatment for PTSD that helped me remain calm, even when I felt too scared to speak. EMDR is a type of exposure therapy that helps patients navigate difficult memories. It is also a simple way to change your reactions to them for the better mentally.
The use of medicine for PTSD patients still suffering is becoming more commonplace, and with good reason. Often, psychotherapy could not help combat the effects of PTSD alone. Physicians often recommend antidepressants for conditions like anxiety, and prazosin is an example of such a medication. This medication not only has antidepressant effects but also helps to lower anxiety levels. Nightmares have been the main problem for many people, especially those with PTSD. According to Raskind et al. (2018), prazosin is a suitable medication for nightmares because it helps stop them without causing side effects. However, it is not FDA-approved and should only be used under medical supervision. I have PTSD, so I take medication that is highly effective at helping with nightmares.
Ultimately, the best therapy I have found is my religion and Christianity. They provide me with hope, inspiration, and peace. Because spirituality plays such a significant and central role in many people’s lives, it is likely to be affected by trauma (Pearce et al., 2018). It may also affect how a survivor reacts to their trauma. To help you find peace and remain emotionally stable after a traumatic experience, I recommend that you practice meditating or praying every day. Talking about the experience of trauma may lead to meaningful discussions of faith and purpose. Many people find healing in believing in a god that heals all things, while others are skeptical. Our group was dedicated to helping fellow soldiers who have PTSD. I started the group, and it helped us cope with our struggles. It had a great outcome. My goal while supporting people with PTSD is to help the next person in a similar situation overcome the mental illness. I do not know how, but I know that it will happen.
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