Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a progressively debilitating psychological condition that occurs after a traumatic experience. It can show up immediately or months later. Its most common symptoms include, but are not limited to: unexplained fears, anxiety, nightmares, memory loss of past events, emotional numbness, difficulty connecting with others, depression, difficulty thinking, avoidance of situations similar to the original trauma, flashbacks, unexplained crying, difficulty managing your life, unexplained irritability or anger, withdrawal, out-of-body feelings, or just not feeling normal.
Few individuals would experience all of these symptoms, but all will experience some. No one symptom alone indicates PTSD, and many of these could result from other conditions.
Most people put off getting help because, 1) in many ways, they have moved on in life, 2) the main coping mechanism used with PTSD is strong avoidance of anything (physical or psychological) connected to the original event. People often cope by keeping very busy (sometimes to the point of exhaustion), taking prescribed medications that suppress the symptoms but do not remove them, or increasing their use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs. Sometimes people don't even realize why they are having these problems.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and they are interfering with your life, please consider getting help from a professional therapist who works with PTSD. LIFE CAN BE BETTER FOR YOU!
Written by Cheryl Dulude, MA, RN, LPC, NCC