Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a natural result of directly experiencing a trauma or witnessing a traumatic event, although not all who have this experience go on to develop PTSD. A beneficial and recommended course of action in dealing with a trauma is reaching out for help and talking about the experience, though this is not always an easy thing to do.
Our most highly honored, decorated, brave, experienced and successful men and women often find themselves coping with the symptoms of PTSD. In the past, PTSD was referred to as “Shell Shock.” Certain populations, such as those who serve in the military, have combat experiences, captivity, and military sexual trauma which put them at greater risk of developing PTSD because of exposure to these extreme traumatic stressors, often on a daily and reoccurring basis. Childhood trauma or familial stressors can compound the risk for PTSD.
Other examples of extreme traumatic stressors include:
- Experiencing an event that causes actual or threatened death/serious injury (taking fire, being engaged in combat, repeat deployments);
- Threat to the physical integrity of another person (our comrades);
- Threat to one’s physical integrity (being shot at/threat of being shot);
- Learning about a violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury of a close associate (comrade) or family member.
Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, an excessive startle response, feeling or acting as if you are still in combat, insomnia, emotional detachment, avoidance of things or situations that remind you of the trauma, irritability, hypervigilance, memory loss, flashbacks of the trauma, and anger. In order to be determined as PTSD, symptoms must be recurring over a time period of more than one month. The symptoms also must be causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. It is common for there to be a delay of six months or more between experiencing the trauma and experiencing the symptoms of PTSD.
There are many options for treatment of PTSD, allowing a choice that best fits you and your experience. The Veterans Administration (VA) offers treatment, as do some community mental health agencies and private practice clinicians. Treatment modalities include but are not limited to individual/group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, movement therapy and wilderness therapy, all of which address the effect trauma has on mood, relationships, social interactions and daily life activities.
Reaching out for help is an act of honor and courage. Help is out there. You are not alone. If you feel you are in crisis, please do not wait…call and speak to a crisis counselor by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255), press 1 to speak to a Veteran. If you feel you are in immediate danger, go to your local Emergency Room or call 911.
PTSD – You're Not Alone
“I’ll look weak.”
“I’ll lose my job.”
“I won’t be able to get a job.”
“No one can help.”
“People will think I’m crazy.”
“I’m not as bad as some people…I can handle it.”
Are these some of your thoughts about seeking help for the affects of war that you are experiencing? If so, you’re not alone. On the other hand, you are not alone in what you are experiencing either. Take a moment to hear from others like you…. Click Here
We’re here for you when you’re ready.
Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation