Like many things in life, change often begins through self-awareness and education. Understanding the facts and the reality of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can serve as a first step in not just treating this disorder but also help to prevent and destigmatize it. Many people are unaware that nearly 70% of adults in the United States report experiencing at least one traumatic event in the span of their lives and perhaps even more startling, 20% of these individuals will go on to develop PTSD making this disorder a shared struggle with millions of Americans.
A deeper look at PTSD
So, what exactly is PTSD? It is a psychiatric disorder that can impact children, teens, and adults who have experienced what they perceive to have been a traumatic event. The key word is ‘perceive’ because despite the commonly shared symptoms, interestingly, two people can experience the same event resulting in one individual experiencing symptoms of PTSD and the other with nothing more than having noted an unpleasant experience. Symptoms for this disorder can include intrusive thoughts experienced as flashbacks and distressing dreams, harmful and disturbing thoughts and feelings such as fear and shame, and hyperarousal and reactive behaviors such as feeling on edge or paranoid, and of course, various efforts of avoidance regarding the event and memories surrounding the event.
An important factor with many psychiatric disorders is understanding that getting treatment earlier on is the best course of action and often one that can help resolve much of the prolonged distress associated with PTSD. If you or a loved one have experienced a traumatic event, it can be beneficial to seek help from a professional even before symptoms of PTSD occur. Doing so can help expedite recovery and minimize unwanted symptoms that may later present themselves. Clinical teams can provide the latest methods of treatment through evidence-based modalities to help evaluate, screen, diagnosis, and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as many other psychiatric conditions.
Guest blog courtesy of James Garofalo, MA, CAC II with ViewPoints Psychotherapy Services, LLC