Unfortunate events are a part of everyone’s life, and it is normal for people to feel stressed, angry, or afraid after a traumatic experience. While most people recover from the trauma after a few days or weeks, some end up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A psychiatric disorder commonly found in people who have experienced a terrifying event, PTSD is hard to spot since it is happening to your mind. While it might look like depression or pure rage, PTSD is an entirely different mental health condition. If left untreated, it can affect how you function daily, taking a toll on your personal and professional relationships.
For this reason, it is important you learn to identify the early symptoms of PTSD and seek help at the earliest sign.
What Causes PTSD?
When talking about PTSD, it is pretty important to remember that not everyone exposed to trauma will have PTSD. However, it can still affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or profession. According to a survey, nearly 7-8 percent of people in the U.S. will suffer from PTSD in their lifetime.
A wide array of personal experiences can cause PTSD. This includes:
- Hearing about an unfortunate event happened to a loved one or even a stranger.
- Being repeatedly exposed to trauma at school or work.
- Being directly involved in a traumatic experience.
- Constantly being exposed to upsetting news on the internet or social media.
Specifically, traumatic experiences can be serious accidents, physical and sexual assaults, injuries, illnesses, neglect, emotional abuse, war and conflict, death, or natural disasters. Sometimes, people resort to harmful coping mechanisms like alcohol abuse or opioid use. If you feel a dependence on opioids, seek help at an opioid treatment center in New Jersey to take control of your life again.
Whether you purposefully think about the traumatic event or not, painful memories can come back to bother you when you are suffering from PTSD. You might have flashbacks during the day or upsetting dreams and nightmares in your sleep. While those are just memories, you might feel like you are reliving the traumatic event as if it is happening for the very first time.
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Severe levels of intrusive memories can make you feel anxious, afraid, guilty, or suspicious all the time. Additionally, physical symptoms might include panic attacks, chills, headaches, shaking, and heart palpitations. Such emotional distress and physical reactions can interrupt your daily functioning, leading you into a frenzy of feeling helpless and struggling to survive.
Physical and Emotional Reactions
The physical and emotional reactions associated with PTSD are termed “arousal symptoms” since they intensify your emotions and make you react differently to situations than you normally would. For instance, if you are imperturbable, you might start feeling furious and stressed out for relatively simple things. Irrational, angry outbursts and panic attacks are one of the most common symptoms of PTSD.
Furthermore, people who have PTSD also find it hard to focus. This is because they always experience the feeling of danger and being under attack. Hence, they are always on guard for danger, which can ruin their concentration and prevent them from working efficiently every day.
In addition, the feeling of looming danger can also cause trouble sleeping, regardless of whether you experience nightmares. Additional symptoms of PTSD include being easily startled or frightened, self-destructive behavior, and overwhelming guilt or shame.
Self-destructive behavior is a serious symptom of PTSD. It can include drinking too much, driving too fast, or even thoughts of suicide. The negativity associated with PTSD can make you feel hopeless, numb, or bad about yourself. Hence, you might always feel a deep sense of guilt and shame, though you haven’t done anything wrong. Furthermore, you will lose interest in activities you otherwise used to enjoy, and your motivation to maintain personal and professional relationships might fall low. This can lead to negative thought patterns.
Seeking Help For PTSD
It is essential to know that not everyone who has PTSD needs psychiatric treatment. For some people, the symptoms start disappearing over time, particularly with the help of their support system comprising friends, family, or even care providers. However, others might find their condition worsening with time. In such a scenario, it is important to seek professional treatment to recover from the trauma that can be disabling.
If you find yourself displaying the symptoms of PTSD, start by practicing meditation techniques, talking to a friend, or even indulging in self-care. Nevertheless, if your condition gets worse with time, don’t hesitate to speak to a therapist.