Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing an event that’s so shocking, scary or dangerous, their mind is unable to process it. Examples include natural disasters, accidents, sexual assault, violence, war and abuse. Untreated PTSD can interfere with a person’s ability to fully function.
It’s natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation, but these reactions generally fade over time. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. Learn more below.
TRAUMA’S IMPACT ON THE BRAIN
Dr. John Rigg explains how trauma impacts our brain and behaviors in this Tedx Talk.
Signs and Symptoms
Here are some common signs of PTSD that may require support and treatment. Remember, the earlier you’re diagnosed and start treatment, the sooner you can start feeling better and get back to your life.
PTSD can make a person feel like they’ve lost control over their own thoughts, actions and reactions to situations. It’s important to not hold these feelings inside or struggle in silence. Talking to someone about how you’re feeling is a powerful first step.
Trying to figure out how to deal with emotional struggles while we’re actually experiencing them can be challenging. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to breathe, move, meditate or even make a gratitude list to help manage those feelings. Headspace offers a range of free videos to help.
TALK ABOUT IT
Too many people struggle with PTSD in silence because they’re afraid of what people will think or that they’ll look weak. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength. PTSD is a treatable medical condition, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Lean on your support network, and talk about how you’re feeling (trust us, it helps).
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Our mental and physical health are intertwined, so it’s important to pay attention to both. Not getting enough sleep or the right nutrition can trigger or worsen symptoms of PTSD. It’s okay to step back and take some time for yourself while you’re also reaching out for help and taking actions to feel better.
Symptoms of PTSD typically don’t go away on their own, and when unaddressed, they can negatively impact work, school, relationships and overall wellness. Don’t wait until things get worse. Reach out for help from a professional. You can find resources below or visit our help-seeking page (link) to learn more.
These resources can help you find professional support online, on the phone or in person. And if you or a friend are having thoughts of suicide, reach out immediately for a free, confidential chat with a trained counselor anytime.