Many individuals think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as something only combat veterans experience after living through trauma associated with war. It’s undoubtedly true that this condition can affect our nation’s defenders. It is a myth, however, that PTSD only affects those who have lived through war.
Creative Care has been providing effective treatment for individuals struggling with PTSD since its founding in 1989. Our staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals is widely respected for its innovative, patient-focused team approach to helping you overcome the challenges of PTSD.
We’re happy to provide our professional insight regarding a few of the myths and facts about PTSD.
Myth: PTSD only happens to military veterans
PTSD can affect anyone, including war veterans and others who have experienced tragedy, such as physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, natural disaster, house fire, etc. Some individuals develop PTSD when a family member, close friend, or coworker suffers harm or after witnessing a tragic accident.
Myth: If you don’t have flashbacks, you don’t have PTSD
PTSD causes a variety of symptoms that may include intrusive memories of the traumatic event and flashbacks during which you relive the trauma as if it were happening again.
However, other symptoms common to PTSD include:
- Ongoing dreams/nightmares about the trauma
- Anxiety or physical reaction to a sound, smell, etc. that reminds you of the event
- Loss of interest in friendships or activities you once enjoyed
- A persistent fear of imminent danger regardless of your circumstance
- Feeling constantly on edge and/or being easily startled
- Difficulty sleeping and problems with concentration
- Problems maintaining close or meaningful relationships
- Increased irritability and anger outbursts
- Feeling emotionally numb
Individuals with PTSD may experience several or all these symptoms in varying degrees of intensity and frequency.
Myth: If I give it enough time, I’ll eventually “outgrow” PTSD
Fear, anxiety, and anger are common reactions to trauma. You may find it hard to stop thinking about what happened and even feel as if you’re back at the scene of the trauma, every time you close your eyes. Most often, however, these effects are temporary and fade as you process the emotions associated with the trauma.
With PTSD, the emotions attached to the trauma become chronic. Without supportive treatment, PTSD can negatively impact your emotional health, as well as your physical well-being for years, and the consequences may worsen rather than fade over time.
Myth: If I were stronger, I would not have problems with PTSD
PTSD is not related to a lack of emotional strength. It is possible the stronger your defense system (ability to push aside or close off your emotions), the more likely you are to develop PTSD. The nature of the trauma, i.e., natural disaster versus sexual assault, can also influence your risk of developing PTSD.
You don’t have to live with the negative consequences of trauma. Contact Creative Care today to find out how our individualized treatment plans can help you conquer PTSD.