If you or someone you love is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD), life can feel overwhelming. TheHopeLine offers support and resources for people living with PTSD and their loved ones.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental illness brought on after being victim of or witness to a terrifying or traumatic event. While any trauma can trigger PTSD episodes, these are some of the most common causes of PTSD:
- 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, people in the medical field, and law enforcement officials must repeatedly witness others’ deaths or physical trauma, and they often experience PTSD symptoms as a result.
If you have been in any of these situations, or have experienced any other 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 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
- Feeling irritable, anxious, easily angered, or jumpy, even when there doesn’t seem to be a cause.
If you have PTSD, it is easy to feel trapped in the memory and experience of your trauma. That’s why it’s so important to get help with your PTSD, and to seek support and treatment for your symptoms.
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. There are plenty of ways to get help.
It’s important not to feel ashamed of your PTSD and to get support dealing with its causes and treating its symptoms so that 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.