Anxiety is not PTSD. Anxiety is the fear of something that has not yet occurred. PTSD is anxiety related to a traumatic event that triggered a fight or flight event that the brain creates to protect an individual. Anxiety is still a traumatic disorder different circumstances cause the fear and stress, and there are modes of therapy and coping techniques that allow the processing of dealing with an attack. PTSD is triggered by events in which the brain automatically signals the fight or flight response to save the person’s life. For example; if you have been physically attacked with no provocation by a person you didn’t know you will have a fear of strangers. Every time an unfamiliar person you do not know that comes close to your physical proximity your body goes on alert to become aware that there may be an impending danger. The article below actually offers some inside of PTSD to allow people to understand better those who suffer. The information provided will also help individuals who do not understand their anxiety after life threating events and how the body naturally responds to threats. Reach out there are people out there who get it; there are people out there who will say: “you too?” Most importantly never allow an abusive person belittle, disregard, or blame you for how your body is trying to cope and heal.The world today is out of balance. We live in a world were war appears on a screen, and the images become ingrained in our minds. The wars I speak of are not the wars far across the seas; these are wars that happen in our schools, at the mall or our night club in town. Our world consists of fear, death, and blood. These images are not just on TV anymore; they come to us through our mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computer monitors. There used to be a time when what the public was exposed to was filtered by the news, magazines, and newspapers. We now live in a world that suffers from trauma; it rules our lives out of fear and the realization that age has nothing to do with one’s mortality. Our world is filled with people suffering from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is caused by traumatic events that trigger one’s fight or flight survival mode. Fight or flight is a primal brain function that has roots to the hunter-gathering man and was an essential brain function for survival.
The world today is out of balance. We live in a world were war appears on a screen, and the images become ingrained in our minds. The wars I speak of are not the wars far across the seas; these are wars that happen in our schools, at the mall or our night club in town. Our world consists of fear, death, and blood. These images are not just on TV anymore; they come to us through our mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computer monitors. There used to be a time when what the public was exposed to was filtered by the news, magazines, and newspapers. We now live in a world that suffers from trauma; it rules our lives out of fear and the realization that age has nothing to do with one’s mortality. Our world is filled with people suffering from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is caused by traumatic events that trigger one’s fight or flight survival mode. Fight or flight is a primal brain function that has roots to the hunter-gathering man and was an essential brain function for survival.
PTSD often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because the symptoms can be cross diagnosed with other illnesses or a “mental health diagnosis.” There have been studies done since 9/11 to see how that traumatic event caused disruptions in people’s emotional coping skills. Nightmares, night terrors, depression, anger, and anxiety are some of the symptoms that manifest when PTSD develops. Even though the symptoms reflect depression or other disorders the main difference is that a lot of people have not had any of these symptoms or diagnoses until the trigger of the traumatic episode.
Another paragraph will give a case study example of how a person was misdiagnosed and the treatment they were given was ineffective because of the wrong diagnosis.
Those who have PTSD are often viewed as veterans or others involved in war or are employed as police officers, firemen/women and other jobs where one is faced with fighting for one’s life. This population of PTSD suffers where the core of focus groups of early studies to see how traumatic events affected someone’s life in the days, months and years following the event. Emotional and mental trauma caused by war became most evident in the soldiers returning from Vietnam. During this time returning soldiers became withdrawn, addicts, suicidal and at times their personalities were altered to the extreme that loved one’s no longer “knew them.” The Veterans Administration has opened research facilities to help veterans and others suffering from PTSD.
Obstacles in the treatment of PTSD often are difficult to overcome if there is not an active support system. The best treatments thus far have proven to be a variety of methods combined to create a system to help the survivor cope and eventually heal. Many people think that pharmaceutical medicine is the answer, a quick fix pill, but I can assure you that is not the answer alone. Often antidepressants are prescribed, and those medications alter the brain chemistry and can have adverse effects on the functioning and cognition of the brain. There are not simple fixes as the healing must be done through a series of therapy, medicines/vitamins, exercise, behavioral therapy and biofeedback have had positive long term effects.
The most “common symptoms” addressed in the Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment pamphlet written by the National Center for PTSD, suggests theses four signs to look for in a person who has PTSD: 1) Reliving theevent2) Avoiding things that remind you of the event. 3) Having more negative thoughts and feelings than before. 4) Feeling on edge. Many of these symptoms occur in people’s lives at some point in time and are not a sign something is wrong. The frequencies of the occurrences of the symptoms are the greatest factors in diagnosing of the PTSD. In the same pamphlet Sarah C. Humphries explains here to experience, “The emotional numbness…will just tear away all of the relationships in your life, you know, if you don’t learn to unlock them [and] get those emotions out.” Most friends and family do not understand how paralyzing PSTD is to a person who suffers traumatic events in which they feel their life is threatened and thus caused their nervous system to cope in a new way to feel safe. Most people will, thankfully, never personally be affected by PTSD. Statistics are about every 1 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women are affected, that is only 10-20% of the general population.( Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment pamphlet written by the National Center for PTSD) Helping someone with emotional trauma is difficult and even more challenging if you do not know what is happening. Support groups and finding friends with similar symptoms are often one of the best starting points for having someone who “gets it” will be better able to offer advice in coping skills, current treatments being offered and community resources.
Many people believe that you have to be a veteran of war or a bystander of war to have PTSD. Many people go undiagnosed because of the belief you must be a “casualty of war.” PTSD is caused by a traumatic event, and a traumatic event is interpreted differently for different people as it is a neurological reaction to protect the individual. I will compare an individual who is more susceptible to getting cancer because of their genetics; studies have shown that there is no pattern and some people will experience the same event and have polar opposite reactions. The only qualifier to what qualifies a “traumatic event” is how your brain and body reacts. Some common traumatic events show a pattern of causing PTSD ailments, such as abuse, car accidents, war, personal attacks and more. In the National Institute of Mental, Health booklet tells a story of Janet and how she suffered PTSD after a severe car collision. She started having trouble sleeping, felt anxious and when she was awake she repeatedly “saw” a reenacting in her mind’s eye of the accident. Janet also became stressed when riding in the car and would avoid getting in a car whenever possible. Her husband noticed the dramatic changes in her and suggested she speak to a medical professional about her worries. After beginning treatment, she found it became easier to sleep, and her stress started to ease. PTSD is not any different about other sicknesses when it comes to being able to be empathetic to one’s suffering. Often unless you have suffered a similar event or have PTSD symptoms most people cannot understand how to help someone unless they make a massive effort to seek out information and support groups to help them understand the triggers and how debilitating the side effects are.
Extensive research has been done regarding different types of treatment. PTSD is like most other ailments, and different coping mechanisms work differently on each. If the symptoms are lasting more than a few months and are very disruptive to a person’s life than treatment options should be sought out. Often individuals who have PTSD believe that time will treat their symptoms, but like most ailments that go untreated the likelihood of the symptoms becoming exasperated is much more likely to occur. People have said they have felt better after their first session talking with a professional who understands the troubles people experience in their lives from the PTSD. The many treatment options are: medications (SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and SNRIs-selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.) These medications assist in balancing out the chemicals in the brain that often become imbalanced because of the trauma. The body’s reaction to certain stimuli which affect the production of chemical substances that help balance hormones, brain chemicals that affect mood and the ability to process situations as they are instead of how we perceive them to be. Talk therapy and prolonged speech therapy are also very effective in dealing with symptoms and stressful episodes. Therapists can offer different view and perspective that most people do see as an effective coping strategy. There are also meditation, stress training and other options that make people aware of how certain situations may trigger a stressful episode.
One thing I have discovered is that when learning how to cope with PTSD people often learning other ways to deal with stress and problems in their life. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder does not discriminate in those it affects. As our world problems escalate, so will the diagnosed cases of PTSD. Traumatic events are the sole cause of PTSD and because of diligent research and dedication professionals and those who have PTSD are learning how to live with the symptoms and sometimes even eliminate them in their life.
PTSD: National Center for PTSD
American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/topics/ptsd/
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
In the UK here is a government website to find information and research for diagnosis assistance and treatment: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/pages/introduction.aspx