If you’re suffering from a traumatic event, it takes time to move on. You might feel as though your mind and body have healed, but symptoms can return. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can look and feel like depression or rage. It makes it difficult to adjust to social situations or cope with highly emotional situations.
PTSD can begin to affect your day-to-day activities, including your sleep patterns and your relationships with others.
Self-care starts with an investment in your mental health. Seeking a professional diagnosis from a trained specialist is the first step toward addressing symptoms of PTSD. At Arlington Family Practice, we’re dedicated to offering individualized treatment options that can help you improve your condition.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. PTSD harms your mood, often mimicking symptoms of depression. People who experience PTSD have sudden fits, terrifying episodes in which they re-experience an aspect of their trauma. This trauma may stem from sexual assault, violence, natural disasters, war, or a severe accident that involved an actual or threatened death.
People with PTSD report having frequent disturbing thoughts and feelings. Inherited mental health risks and the way your brain regulates the hormones that respond to stress may increase your chance of developing PTSD. Avoidance, negative thoughts, changes in physical and emotional reactions, flashbacks, or intrusive memories are the categories into which the symptoms of PTSD fit.
Symptoms of PTSD
Nightmares are prevalent in people who struggle with the disorder. If you have PTSD, you may avoid particular environments or areas where your symptoms might be triggered. This avoidance can eventually result in social isolation, making it difficult for you to maintain relationships.
Memories of the event arise as nightmares during sleep or as flashbacks in the daytime. Often, the severe emotional distress triggers a physical response that may result in chills, headaches, shaking, or a sudden panic attack.
You may avoid people or places that remind you of the incident responsible for your PTSD. This behavior may cause you to feel lonely or detached from the world. The following also characterize PTSD:
- Negative thoughts about others
- A general lack of interest in activities
- Feelings of emotional numbness
- A cynical attitude toward the future
Arousal symptoms can make normal emotional responses more intense, affecting the way you might typically react to something. Changes in behavior can include:
- Being frightened easily
- Having trouble concentrating
- Suffering aggressive outbursts
- Displaying self-destructive behavior
Over time, symptoms of PTSD vary in intensity and can occur more frequently with increased stress.
When to see a doctor
If you’re having trouble getting your life in order, consider seeking professional treatment. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible can help prevent worsening symptoms and keep you from turning to coping methods that may be unhealthy, such as alcohol.
Psychotherapy, combined with medications like antidepressants, is the primary treatment method for PTSD. We can also help you learn skills that improve and encourage positive thought processes.
Therapy can treat depression and anxiety, which are problems related to traumatic experiences. Reaching out to close family and friends who may offer comfort, or turning to a trusted community can lessen symptoms of PTSD.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to speak to a trained counselor.
Some additional resources if you suffer from PTSD include:
- SAMHSA National Helpline, 800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- PTSD United
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, 800-950-6264
Don’t carry the burden of PTSD symptoms alone, call our office to get help today or book your appointment through our online tool.