Risk Factors For Ptsd
Many people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their life, yet not everyone who does will develop PTSD. In fact, most tend to recover naturally.2 Some people are more susceptible to PTSD, especially those already dealing with mental illness or substance abuse problems.2
Some people are more susceptible to PTSD, especially those already dealing with mental illness or substance abuse problems.
Depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder often accompany PTSD.2 Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may experience more severe PTSD symptoms, higher rates of other mental health disorders, and are at greater risk for suicide.3 However, research shows that when treatment improves PTSD symptoms, comorbid substance abuse disorder issues also improve.3
Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men, and veterans of war experience higher rates of PTSD than the general population due to their exposure to stress and trauma during combat.4
Educate Yourself About Ptsd
Healthwise is an excellent website with many informational articles on PTSD. You will recognize the Healthwise logo by the three red circles with one embedded into the other. Adam Husney MD, Kathleen Romito MD, and Jessica Hamblen Ph.D. are practitioners in family medicine. They are a few of the medical reviewers on the site, so you know the information is accurate and current.
There are many blogs, websites, and videos that can teach you about anger management, unhealthy behaviors, and trouble dealing with anger and PTSD. An internet search will help you find them and there are many informative articles at BetterHelp.
What Exactly Is Post
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has been through a traumatic event. These events can include:
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist attacks
- Combat during wartime
During a traumatic event, people think that their life or the lives of others are in danger. They may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening. And if the person has a TBI, too, these feelings of lack of control and fear can balloon into confusion, challenges with memory, or intense emotion.
Combat-related PTSD has existed as long as war itself. The condition was called soldiers heart in the Civil War, shell shock in World War I, and Combat fatigue in World War II. Despite the fact that the condition has been around for thousands of years, it is sometimes still difficult, or controversial, to diagnose.
Common External Ptsd Triggers
- Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma.
- People, locations, or things that recall the trauma.
- Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day.
- Nature .
- Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events.
- Situations that feel confining .
- Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments.
- Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment.
Tip : Be A Good Listener
While you shouldnt push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that youre interested and that you care, but dont worry about giving advice. Its the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.
A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on. Instead, offer to talk as many times as they need.
Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to. Its okay to dislike what you hear, but its important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving, horrified, or judgmental, they are unlikely to open up to you again.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd
PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyones nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While youre most likely to develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four main types of symptoms.
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Tip : Anticipate And Manage Triggers
A trigger is anythinga person, place, thing, or situationthat reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers dont have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
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Finding A Therapist For Ptsd
When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.
Beyond credentials and experience, its important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut if a therapist doesnt feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.
Impact Of Ptsd On Relationships And Day
PTSD can affect a persons ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem uninterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help. This can lead to loved ones feeling shut out.
It is important to remember that these behaviours are part of the problem. People with PTSD need the support of family and friends but may not understand what is happening to them or think that they need help.
When PTSD goes on for some time, it is not unusual for people to experience other mental health problems at the same time. In fact, up to 80 per cent of people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems – most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or other substance misuse. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or as a result of the effects of having PTSD.
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S You Can Take To Help Someone With Ptsd
You can take steps to help someone with PTSD. Learn about the disorder so you can relate to what your loved one is going through and know what to expect. Talk to your loved one, and acknowledge spoken feelings. Encourage treatment as its paramount for recovery. Invite your loved one to accompany you for a walk or some other peaceful activity. Its good for the person to rejoin the world. Show your support in all ways, and above all, be patient.
People who suffer from PTSD feel like theyve lost control. Taking an active role in your loved ones recovery can help to empower them. One good practice is to focus on repairing the rift the trauma left behind. Encourage your loved one to spend time with family and friends and to leave the house for a little while each day. You might advise becoming involved in PTSD awareness as a step toward empowerment. The smallest action can help a person regain control.
How Do You Develop Triggers
When faced with danger, your body gets ready to fight, flee, or freeze. Your heart beats faster. Your senses go on high alert. Your brain stops some of its normal functions to deal with the threat. This includes your short-term memory.
With PTSD, your brain doesnât process the trauma the right way. It doesnât file the memory of the event as being in the past. The result: You feel stressed and frightened even when you know youâre safe.
The brain attaches details, like sights or smells, to that memory. These become triggers. They act like buttons that turn on your bodyâs alarm system. When one of them is pushed, your brain switches to danger mode. This may cause you to become frightened and your heart to start racing. The sights, sounds, and feelings of the trauma may come rushing back. This is called a flashback.
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The Five Stages Of Ptsd
PTSD can be a challenge, but help isnt far away. If you would like treatment or to help a loved one, we are here. Get in touch for more information below.
According to Australasian Psychiatry, over 1.15 million Australians or around 4.4% of our population experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder each year, and that number is set to rise to rates higher than ever previously reported.
The groups of people in our community with the highest rates of PTSD emergency workers and Defence Force personnel were those called on in 2019 and 2020 to provide the bushfire response and assistance during COVID-19 quarantine and lockdowns.
While these rates are expected to increase within these careers, the percentage is also increasing among health care workers who were quarantined. These pandemic heroes are now suffering PTSD at higher rates than the general public, due to the impact of COVID-19.
Due to the traumatic events we are all seeing in our lifetime, the prevalence of PTSD in Australia will only increase.
PTSD has long been associated with armed and emergency services, but we are finding that so many more everyday Australians are now dealing with the consequences of traumatic events, resulting in more and more PTSD, says Dr Anja Kriegeskotten, The Banyans Health and Wellness Consultant Psychiatrist.
Added to this is Australias increase in mental illness in veterans, who currently suffer PTSD at rate of 17.7% in the four years after discharge.
Ptsd Symptoms: Difficult But Totally Normal
Maybe you experience nightmares or flashbacks. The anxiety they bring can show up without warning, like the worst kind of surprise houseguest. And you might find yourself sucked into quicksand-like swamps of anger or guilt.
The good news: All of those symptoms are normal. You might be thinking, Thats supposed to be good news? But understanding where your symptoms are coming from is the first step toward healing. And you can heal and recover from PTSD it will just take some time, says psychiatrist Molly Wimbiscus, MD.
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Tip : Reach Out To Others For Support
PTSD can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But its important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. You dont have to talk about the trauma if you dont want to, but the caring support and companionship of others is vital to your recovery. Reach out to someone you can connect with for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen when you want to talk without judging, criticizing, or continually getting distracted. That person may be your significant other, a family member, a friend, or a professional therapist. Or you could try:
Volunteering your time or reaching out to a friend in need. This is not only a great way to connect to others, but can also help you reclaim your sense of control.
Joining a PTSD support group. This can help you feel less isolated and alone and also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery.
Support Is Important For Recovery
Many people experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the first two weeks after a traumatic event, but most recover with the help of family and friends. For this reason, for a diagnosis of PTSD is not made until a month after the event. Treatment does not usually start for at least two or more weeks after a traumatic experience. However if the event is very distressing and emotions and reactions are intense, it is advisable to seek help as early as possible to understand what is happening and help recovery to start.
It is important during the first few days and weeks after a traumatic event to get whatever help is needed. This may include accessing information, people and resources that can help you to recover. Support from family and friends may be all that is needed. Otherwise, a doctor is the best place to start to get further help.
What If I Have Ptsd And Another Mental Health Condition Like Depression Or Anxiety
Many people with PTSD have other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Getting treatment for PTSD and any other mental health conditions will help you get better. Treatment for PTSD works best when you and your doctor know about the effects of other mental health conditions and take steps to treat them at the same time.
Cognition And Mood Symptoms Include:
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Cognition and mood symptoms can begin or worsen after the traumatic event, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated or detached from friends or family members.
It is natural to have some of these symptoms for a few weeks after a dangerous event. When the symptoms last more than a month, seriously affect ones ability to function, and are not due to substance use, medical illness, or anything except the event itself, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD dont show any symptoms for weeks or months. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.
Who Is At Risk Of Ptsd
Anyone who has been through an experience that was intensely scary, dangerous, or life threatening is at risk of PTSD. Experiencing this type of trauma is common: At least 4 in 5 people experience some type of trauma in their lifetimes.1 The majority of people who experience a trauma do not develop PTSD. The more serious the trauma was or the more directly it affected you, the higher your risk of developing PTSD afterward.7
Military veterans as a group are at very high risk of PTSD. About 14% of veterans of the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan developed PTSD after returning home.8
Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.9 Women who have gone through trauma, including women in the military, are more likely than men whove experienced trauma to develop PTSD. Among women who are raped, about half develop PTSD.6
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Ptsd
Most kids and teens with PTSD will:
- have upsetting thoughts of the trauma
- have bad dream or sleep problems
- have bad memories, called flashbacks, that make it seem like the trauma is still happening
- avoid things that remind them of the trauma
- be more easily startled, scared, or anxious
- feel more moody, sad, angry, or not enjoy things as before
- not remember some parts of what happened
Younger children may show more fearful and regressive behaviors They may re-enact the trauma through play.
When symptoms like these happen in the first days and weeks after the trauma, it may be called an acute stress reaction. Doctors diagnose PTSD when symptoms last longer than a month.
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How To Cope With Ptsd
There are times you will be going into situations where you know there may be triggers that cause PTSD anxiety. The above tips are definitely still applicable to these situations, and something else you can consider is planning for what may happen.
This can be tricky since anxiety has a knack for spinning the what ifs out of control, so keep it simple. You know what triggers may occur, so plan for those specific triggers and how you can deal with them, whether its using grounding techniques or pulling out your phone to use an app.
You can also reach out to your support network for help in these scenarios. Perhaps someone from your support group can come with you or you can reach out to them before, during, or after to manage and deal with the PTSD-related anxiety youre feeling.
Both PTSD and anxiety, separately, can contribute to feelings of helplessness. So when coupling the two together, it can feel insurmountable. However, using the above PTSD self-help tips can make a positive difference in how you cope with PTSD anxiety and help you to not get stuck in those feelings.
APA ReferenceBarton, L. . How to Cope with PTSD-Related Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/ptsd/how-to-cope-with-ptsd-related-anxiety