Many people associate PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) with military service, but there are many more traumatic events that can cause this condition. It may be difficult to believe, but there are close to eight million people in the US that are affected. It is one of the major conditions that require intensive mental health treatment.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
There are four basic categories into which symptoms of PTSD fall:
- Intruding memories: These usually involve a flashback to the moment of trauma or dreams based on the traumatic event.
- Avoidance: Many sufferers of the disorder will purposefully avoid certain things or places that remind them of the trauma.
- Disassociation: A feeling that the “real world” is not real at all.
- High state of vigilance: This usually is associated with tense feelings, difficulties with sleeping, easily frightened or startled, and quick to anger.
Mental health treatment for PTSD:
The majority of those who are exposed to trauma have a somewhat similar response, both physically and psychologically. Many of those that suffer PTSD find it difficult to seek help, as they believe they should simply “get over it.”
Some of those that suffer from PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. These substances may provide short-term relief, but in the long run simply create more problems that have to be dealt with.
People with PTSD respond well to structured mental health treatment. Considerable research is currently underway on different types of therapy. The objective is to modify the negative thinking that is commonly associated with depression. Mental health therapists also help people face what to them is frightening, so they can learn to cope with it.
There are certain medications that can help; antidepressants and mood stabilizers may play a role, but must be taken under the direction of a mental health therapist. Health care professionals have recently begun to use yoga and meditation to compliment mental health treatment and prescriptions. Treatment should never rely on prescription medication; therapy and understanding the cause of the PTSD is much more important.
As is true with any mental illness, the support and love of close family members of those suffering PTSD cannot be underestimated. If you or a loved one is currently suffering from PTSD, contact Options Family and Behavioral Services.