June is Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that results from trauma in one’s life. Those who witness someone else’s trauma can also develop PTSD. PTSD is very often associated with veterans who have returned from a combat situation. There are, however, many other experiences in people’s lives that can result in PTSD. PTSD can be the result of any trauma in one’s life, including abuse, domestic violence, psychological abuse, or any violence that one might experience. PTSD is a disorder that does not always manifest itself immediately. The signs may not appear for months or years after the actual trauma was experienced.
So how do you recognize the signs of PTSD?
There are 3 main signs to look for in someone who may be suffering from this disorder:
Flashbacks happen when a person remembers the trauma and then actually experiences the same fear and horror that was experienced when the event actually took place. It is as if the person is actually reliving the experience once again. Almost anything can trigger a flashback; a smell, a sound, something one sees. Some people can experience a flashback when they hear of someone else having a similar traumatic experience.
Feeling on edge all of the time.
A person who is often in a heightened emotional state, feeling a sense of anxiety and/or fear about something that might happen may be experiencing PTSD. This edginess can result in insomnia, irritability, and living in a constant fear state.
Difficulty expressing feelings.
People suffering from PTSD will try and avoid further hurt by staying numb to their feelings. Studies show that 43% of PTSD sufferers develop substance abuse problems as a means of coping and avoiding the feelings associated with their trauma.
Treatment is available for PTSD sufferers.
More education and awareness of PTSD is much needed, however. Only when people are aware of the signs of PTSD will they become open to seeing it as a real disorder and seek treatment for it, without feeling shame.
At Lifeologie Counseling Durham, our counselors specialize in helping people who have suffered traumatic incidents or have lived through intense situations. We are ready to help you learn new ways in which to cope with those experiences and live more peacefully.
About Elizabeth Grady
Liz has been counseling adolescents, adults, and families for eighteen years in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Liz earned her master’s degree in Counseling from North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 2002 and has been a practicing counselor since that time. Recently Liz earned her Doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education from NCSU and now teaches masters-level counseling students at Northwestern University.View Profile