Most of us have been in car accidents of some sort by the time we've reached adulthood. Usually they're harmless fender-benders; insurance is exchanged, cars are fixed and everyone goes on with their livesâ€¦except when they don't.
Perhaps you were in what seemed like a minor car accident, but you can't quite get over how the distracted driver slammed into the back of your car as you waited for the light to turn green, for example. Maybe now, you experience panic attacks when faced with a similar driving situation, and you don't know how to get over it. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression and/or fear after a traumatic experience, you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Many believe this disorder is only reserved for those brave military men and women who've put their lives on the line for our country, but PTSD can happen to anyone, and for so many various reasons that there is no way to define exactly what causes it. People are unique and everyone has different coping mechanisms, so what may not affect one person at all can seriously traumatize another.
PTSD can be caused by any situation in which you feel threatened or helpless, when bodily harm has happened to you, or if you've witnessed the hurting or death of others. Combat, sexual, emotional or physical abuse, robbery, natural disasters and being a part of a traumatic event such as a public shooting are all examples of experiences that can trigger this disorder.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can include:
- Recurrent reliving or re-experiencing of the trauma, including flashbacks and nightmares.
- Avoidance of people or places that remind the sufferer of the traumatic experience.
- Emotional numbing or feeling detached from life, which are coping mechanisms the brain uses to protect the victim from further stress.
- Depression, including memory loss or inability to concentrate, or feelings of hopelessness.
- Hyper-vigilance via the constant scanning of environments for danger, including claustrophobia, anxiety-induced insomnia and fear of crowds or elevators.
- Outbursts of anger, sudden mood swings and headaches.
- Startling easily, especially when loud, sudden noises are involved.
- Panic attacks, including tachycardia, feeling dizzy, light-headed, or fainting.
If you have experienced a traumatic event and have any of these symptoms, there are many ways to treat your issues and help you through this rough time.
Treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, during which a trained therapist can help the PTSD sufferer replace anxiety-inducing thoughts with less stressful ones. Also known as Talk Therapy, this type of counseling may also include family members for group or couples counseling, conflict resolution training and parenting assistance.
- Medication is another beneficial treatment that can reduce anxiety and lift depression to allow PTSD sufferers to live a normal life. Antidepressants are given to lessen sadness, anti-anxiety medications can reduce stress with sedation and anti-psychotic medications can help control outbursts and insomnia.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is used in conjunction with Exposure Therapy to reprogram your mind to think about other things when faced with PTSD-related fears.
- Support Groups can help those with PTSD get used to talking about the reasons for their trauma with others who've been through similar situations. This can make them feel less alone, and more comfortable discussing personal feelings with people in general.
If you believe you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, seek professional help immediately. There are many different therapies and medicines to help you feel less anxious, and you will be glad you decided to do something to ease your anxiety, lessen the fear and lighten the weight of the PTSD that has been holding you down. With the support of your doctors and loved ones, you can get your life back.
Published on behalf of Bethany Fields, a professional blogger who provides information and reviews for construction claims laywers in Ontario along with other practice areas.