By Summer Thornsberry
Are you feeling down or feeling guilty? Did something happen to you that you just can’t seem to forget? Is this affecting your every day life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD, and you may want to contact your physician.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is commonly known as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue syndrome.”
PTSD can affect anyone, at any age, and usually occurs when one has experienced a tragic event in which serious harm was threatened.
In most cases, PTSD usually occurs within the first three months after the tragic event has occurred, but in some rare cases, symptoms have shown years later.
According to the National Library of Medicine, there are four main symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are:
Reliving the event
It is common for people suffering with PTSD to think back to the event on a day-to-day basis. Flashbacks and nightmares are also known to occur after reliving the event, and this can usually affect their daily lifestyle.
After experiencing this event, their moods may begin to change. They may start to feel detached, as if they have no future. They may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. It is also common to find them avoiding certain places, and/or people.
Usually, this occurs when the person’s safety was put in physical danger. It’s common to have problems falling and staying asleep or being startled very easily.
As expected, after the event, the person’s feelings may begin to change. They may begin to feel guilt or shock. It is common for people with PTSD to feel as if they don’t care about anything.
If thoughts ever go as far as harming themselves or others, contact a doctor
It can happen to you
There are many traumatic events that could trigger PTSD, such as a physical or sexual assault, car accidents, incarceration, natural disasters and troops that have been deployed at war.
The National Association on Mental Illness estimated that 3.6 percent of Americans ages 18 to 54, or 5.2 million citizens a year, suffer with symptoms of PTSD. But it doesn’t just affect adults; PTSD can occur at any age between
childhood and adulthood. Children suffering with PTSD have a increased chance at delayed development.
There are two main methods used to treat PTSD:
The best way to try to move on from this part of your life is to talk about it. Explain how you feel and how this affected your life. Talking to a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist or a therapist, can help you work through your feelings in a safe and calm way.
Your physician may suggest taking an anti-depressant to help cope with your symptoms of PTSD. This medication can help improve your sleep, anxiety and ease your depression.
Contact your doctor
PTSD is a severe disorder, affecting millions every year, but it is curable and can be stopped before symptoms get overwhelming. If you feel as if you are suffering symptoms of PTSD, talk to your doctor or local mental health center.
All VA Medical Centers offer PTSD treatment without a referral. Some locations offer a specialty PTSD program; however, a referral is usually needed to access the specialty programs.
The closest PTSD specialty program is offered at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville.
For a complete list of specialty programs, visit www2.va.gov/directory/guide/state_PTSD.cfm? State=TN, or call 1–800–273–8255 and press 1