What Is PTSD & How To Get Support
If you or someone you love is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD), life can feel overwhelming. Being trapped in the memory and experience of a trauma through nightmares and flashbacks is very scary. TheHopeLine offers support and resources for people living with PTSD and their loved ones. There is hope to overcome your personal battle.
If you have experienced any significant trauma, it is important to be screened for PTSD so that you can get all the help you need to heal and recover.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental illness brought on after being a witness to or a victim of a terrifying or traumatic event. While any trauma can trigger PTSD, these are some of the most common causes:
- Military service, especially combat
- Gun violence or active shooter events
- Gang-related violence
- Physical assault, home invasion, or armed robbery
- Rape, sexual abuse, or other sexual assault
- Physical abuse and other cruelty from a friend, family member, or romantic partner
- Acute grieving after sudden loss of a loved one
- Repeated exposure to traumatic events as a result of your work. For example: first responders, medical professionals, and law enforcement officials can repeatedly witness others’ deaths or physical trauma, and they can experience PTSD symptoms as a result.
What are PTSD Signs and Symptoms?
How you or your loved one experiences PTSD can vary, but the most common PTSD symptoms include:
- Flashbacks: You feel like you are re-experiencing the trauma and cannot distinguish between the memory of the trauma and reality. For example, you may hear fireworks, believe you are in combat, and behave accordingly, even if you are safe in your home.
- Nightmares: Graphic nightmares from which you wake up sweating, crying, or having trouble breathing
- Heightened sensory awareness: Increased sensitivity to any one or more of your senses, such as sight, sound, touch, and smell.
- Feeling irritable: You are overly anxious, easily angered, or jumpy, even when there doesn’t seem to be a cause.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek support and treatment.
Where Can I Find PTSD Treatment and Support?
Like any other physical or mental illness, your PTSD diagnoses is not your fault. It does not mean you are damaged goods or that things will never get better. There is hope. There are plenty of ways to get help.
You do not need to feel ashamed of your PTSD. It’s very brave to ask for support. With help, you can learn to both deal with the causes of your PTSD and treat its symptoms. You can regain your quality of life and foster healthier relationships with others. PTSD treatment includes:
- Talking about your traumatic experience and how it affected you.
- Identifying triggers for flashbacks, nightmares, and other PTSD symptoms
- Creating a plan for managing your symptoms which may include therapy, medication, inpatient treatment, or support groups.