Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD can affect anyone. It can strike after someone experiences any type of traumatic or serious event. Natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, or accidental disasters, such as car accidents, airplane crashes, fires, collapses of a building, or deliberately caused disasters, such as rape, assault, kidnapping, torture or combat are all events that could cause PTSD. Though the trauma may have occurred months or years ago, the survivor continues to have problems because they keep re-experiencing the traumatic event, or avoid stimuli associated with the event.
If you are a survivor of a trauma experiencing one or more of these symptoms you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
- Sleep disturbances
- Tendency to react under stress with survival tactics
- Psychic or emotional numbing
- Emotional constriction
- Loss of interest in work and activities
- Survivor guilt
- Fantasies of retaliation
- Avoidance of activities that arouse memories of traumas
- Suicidal feelings and thoughts
- Fantasies of destruction
- Cynicism and distrust of government and authority
- Concern with humanistic values overlaid by hedonism
- Negative self-image
- Memory impairment
- Hyper-sensitivity to justice
- Problems with intimate relationships
- Difficulty with authority figures
- Emotional distance from children, spouse and others
- Self-deceiving and self-punishing patterns of behavior, such as an inability to talk about war experiences, fear of losing others, and a tendency to fits of rage.
If you are experiencing PTSD, it is vital that you seek professional help immediately. Divorce, depression, physical illness, alcohol and drug abuse are often the tragic result of undetected or untreated PSTD. PTSD is very responsive to a variety of psychotherapies. In individual therapy, the survivor can learn a new perspective on the past. With the gentle support of an experienced psychotherapist, you will find new and healthier ways to put old memories to rest. In couples therapy, you and your spouse will learn to help each other through the stressful periods. And group therapy with other survivors gives you an opportunity to learn from, and help other, who’ve “been there.” If you or someone you love is experiencing PTSD, contact my office to set up an appointment.
For more information, visit Living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.