My Personal Experience of PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder also known as PTSD is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world.  Anyone that is faced with trauma and shock can develop PTSD. Someone diagnosed with PTSD can show no outward signs of mental illness until they are triggered, so you should never assume who has PTSD and who does not. People who have experienced war combat, rape, natural disasters, serious accidents, acts of terrorism, and personal violence can all develop PTSD.

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“While most people exposed to traumatic events do not develop PTSD, others go on to develop the full-blown syndrome.(PTSD: National Center for PTSD 2007).  It is crucial as a society to properly identify PTSD, discover the best treatments, and ultimately prevent PTSD from spreading.

Some common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, feeling jumpy, and easily irritated and angered.  Victims of PTSD have trust issues and avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic experience.  PTSD can be associated as a “gateway mental illness that can lead to the development of other mental illnesses. “Many individuals with PTSD use alcohol and other substances as a method to mitigate or escape(McCauley, Killeen, Gros, Brady, & Back, 2012).  Individuals with a mental illness often self medicate with drugs or alcohol. Someone that suffers from substance use disorder could have started with PTSD. It is important that doctors do not misdiagnose someone and mistakenly label someone with PTSD as just a drug addict. I also think society should not assume that someone who has a drinking problem is not a responsible person. Society should never judge because you do not know what a person has gone through in there life to be the way they are.

The most popular, but not always successful treatments offered for mental illnesses are therapy and medication.  PTSD can be alleviated with proper therapy and even cured.  “The therapy uses two types of exposure therapy: imaginal exposure and vivo exposure. In vivo exposure involves repeatedly engaging in activities or behaviors that a person has avoided because of the trauma, but which are not actually dangerous. Imaginal exposure involves repeatedly revisiting the memory and describing the traumatic experience(Staff, American Psychiatric Association., 2018).  It is important that people with PTSD face their fears instead of just avoiding the issue. Some of the medications  prescribed  for PTSD do not address the problem but instead “numb or “shelter the victim from facing their fears. Having alternative forms of therapy instead of just medication can have a greater impact towards healing. When a person learns how to cope with stress rather than avoid it, the more likely the person will know how to handle themselves when faced with stress again. Living in a society that band aides mental illnesses with a pill is not only unresolvable, but dangerous for the mentality of the society.

I am diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.  Living with this mental illness is to say the least like living in a nightmare sometimes. I was physically, verbally, and emotional abused as a child by a family member from 5 years old to age 18 . “When a relationship is unhealthy or abusive, it can cause major harm(Berrington, Lucy, 2017).  The repercussion of the abuse has followed me into my adult life and ruined new relationships. I have many trust issues to the point were every single person I meet I question their motives and avoid making friends to avoid being hurt. I have nightmares and flashbacks that are to the point of crippling. I have been in and out of four different mental hospitals.  For many years I struggled to accept and learn how to cope with my illness. Every psychiatrist only prescribed me psych drugs to help. When I took the psych drugs I felt numb and ashamed that I had to rely on a drug to help me.  It was a disappointment that the psychiatrist only used drugs as a “resolution.  I wish I would have known about alternative therapies from the beginning because that is what has help me recover. No pill or drug can take away problems, and I hope someday our society learns that too.

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