A century ago, World War I veterans returned home from war with a condition called “shell shock.” World War II veterans suffered from “combat fatigue.” We now refer to the disorder as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but we also understand that anyone who has experienced a significant trauma can develop PTSD.
Those traumas include surviving a natural disaster, a serious car accident, terrorist attack or mass shooting, as well as a violent personal assault, such as rape. In fact, more women are diagnosed with PTSD than men.
Symptoms of PTSD fall into four broad categories:
Your trauma is relived in vivid flashbacks, sometimes triggered by a sound, scent, or touch. Nightmares are also common.
People with PTSD are often reluctant to talk about the trauma. They try to erase the memory of what happened. To do so, they avoid places, people, and activities that are associated with the trauma. Avoidance often takes the form of withdrawal from daily life.
People can respond to trauma by becoming more sensitive to noise and touch, leading them to be easily startled. Some people become more short-tempered and easily irritated. Others become self-destructive or behave in a reckless manner.
Treating PTSD Simply telling someone to just “get back on the horse” after a trauma isn’t helpful. People who have been diagnosed with PTSD usually need a combination of medications to alleviate or stabilize symptoms along with therapy. As with other disorders, PTSD can be accompanied by other conditions. It’s essential to get a professional diagnosis for any other conditions, such as substance use or depression, so that they are also addressed.
Contact Saginaw Psychiatry to schedule an appointment and begin changing your life.