Understanding PTSD

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately nine million American citizens. The National Center for PTSD reports that 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD. Furthermore, PTSD can affect some groups who are at a greater risk of experiencing trauma. If you suspect that you or someone you love has developed PTSD, you should not hesitate to reach out for help. A therapist can understand the struggle that traumatized individuals and their families go through, and want to help. If you’ve been impacted by PTSD, you need to know that help is available.

Who is More Prone to PTSD?

As mentioned, a substantial number of military personnel and veterans have PTSD. Other people in certain jobs are more at risk, as well. They include people such as these:

  • Firefighters
  • Police officers
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Paramedics 
  • Emergency workers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • And other first responders

These groups of people are 10 times more likely to try committing suicide than other people.

Veterans, first responders, and other individuals face traumatic events every day as part of their job. This can include assaults (sexual or physical), accidents (motor vehicle accidents, traffic accidents, or other physical accidents), muggings, robberies, witnessing terrible things, domestic or family violence, mass traumatic incidents, including mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and severe weather events.

How Does Trauma Affect Someone?

Undergoing a traumatic event can impact individuals in different ways. One person can perceive the event as deeply traumatic, while another person does not consider it so. Some people may be more susceptible, especially if they have a history of trauma. The current traumatic event could trigger subconscious and conscious memories of an earlier traumatic incident. Still, some people may be more resilient than others. 

Consequently, it’s crucial that we are all aware, understand, and can identify the signs and symptoms of PTSD and know how to react and what to do if we see someone who is struggling. Be mindful that some people may show visible signs and symptoms of PTSD, depression, or anxiety after a traumatic event, while others might not. If an individual is experiencing any of the following symptoms for a period of four or more weeks after a trauma, they are well-advised to seek professional help from a clinical psychologist.

  • Are still very fearful or upset
  • Can’t seem to escape intense and ongoing feelings of distress
  • Feel unsettled, emotional, jumpy, or have trauma-related night terrors or nightmares
  • May withdraw from family and friends, and their important relationships suffer
  • Can’t stop thinking and repeating the trauma in their head
  • Post-traumatic symptoms interfere with everyday activities
  • Get no enjoyment at all out of life

If you’re still unsure whether you or a loved one are experiencing PTSD, schedule a time to talk to a trauma therapist in Palatine, IL. You can learn about the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD and what to do if the struggle continues on after a traumatic event. Your mental health professional can also recommend resources you can use to find peer and professional help.

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and understanding PTSD.