Post Traumatic Stress Disorders
(I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD)
“Not all wounds are visible.” ~unknown
- PTSD is recognized as a psychobiological mental disorder that can affect survivors not only of combat experience, but also terrorist attacks, natural disasters, serious accidents, assault or abuse, or even sudden and major emotional losses.
- PTSD is associated with changes in brain function and structure and these changes provide clues to the origins, treatment, and prevention of PTSD.
- Some cases may be delayed, with only subtle symptoms showing up initially and more severe symptoms emerging months after the traumatic event.
- PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults in a given year, though the disorder can develop at any age including childhood.
- Symptoms include strong and unwanted memories of the event, bad dreams, emotional numbness, intense guilt or worry, angry outbursts, feeling “on edge,” and avoiding thoughts and situations that are reminders of the trauma.
- An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD.
- About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year.
- 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. This equates to approximately 223.4 million people.
- An estimated 8% of Americans − 24.4 million people − have PTSD at any given time. That is equal to the total population of Texas.
- An estimated one out of every nine women develops PTSD, making them about twice as likely as men.
- People with PTSD have among the highest rates of healthcare service use. People with PTSD present with a range of symptoms, the cause of which may be overlooked or misdiagnosed as having resulted from past trauma.
- One condition that is examined in VA-funded research is post–traumatic stress disorder(PTSD); an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person is exposed to a life-threatening event. … 17% of combat troops are women; 71% of female military personnel develop PTSDdue to sexual assault within the ranks.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans. 11 percentof veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
- PTSD was once considered a psychological condition of combat veterans who were “shocked” by and unable to face their experiences on the battlefield.
- Soldiers with symptoms of PTSD often faced rejection by their military peers and were feared by society in general.
- Veterans diagnosed with PTSD may experience problems sleeping maintaining relationships, and returning to their previous civilian lives.
- Almost 50% of all outpatient mental health patients have PTSD.
“Post-traumatic stress can occur acutely (soon after the trauma), or in a delayed onset months after.”
Length of time varies. One must have symptoms for at least one month following an event to receive a PTSD diagnosis. In some cases, particularly where it is not treated, PTSD can last a very long time, perhaps the remainder of one’s life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, or learning that a traumatic event has happened to a loved one.
For people with PTSD, it is very common for their memories to be triggered by sights, sounds, smells or even feelings that they experience. These triggers can bring back memories of the trauma and cause intense emotional and physical reactions, such as raised heart rate, sweating and muscle tension.
Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters and many other traumatic events. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or harm.
All Veterans with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD. … Yet only some will develop PTSD; the reason for this is not clear.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience. Types of events that can lead to PTSD include: serious road accidents. violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery. Sept. 6, 2015
PTSD can have severe effects on the hippocampus, causing problems with transferring short-term to long-term memory. There is no one way that patients’ memories are affected by PTSD, as shown by a variety of studies.
As with most mental illnesses, no cure exists for PTSD, but the symptoms can be effectively managed to restore the affected individual to normal functioning. The best hope for treating PTSD is a combination of medication and therapy.
The symptoms of PTSD can be hard on your body so it’s important to take care of yourself and develop some healthy lifestyle habits. Take time to relax. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, or yoga can activate the body’s relaxation response and ease symptoms of PTSD.
PTSD is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event. However symptoms may not appear until several months or even years later. The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
- Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
- Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.
Diagnosis criteria that apply to adults, adolescents, and children older than six include those below. Read more details here.
Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation:
- directly experiencing the traumatic events
- witnessing, in person, the traumatic events
- learning that the traumatic events occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental
- experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events (Examples are first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). Note: This does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless exposure is work-related.
The presence of one or more of the following:
- spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events (Note: In children repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic events are expressed.)
- recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events (Note: In children there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.)
- flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring (Note: In children trauma-specific reenactment may occur in play.)
- intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
- physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders (i.e., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)
Two or more of the following:
- inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
- persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
- persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
- persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
- markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- persistent inability to experience positive emotions
Two or more of the following marked changes in arousal and reactivity:
- irritable or aggressive behavior
- reckless or self-destructive behavior
- exaggerated startle response
- problems with concentration
- difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep
Also, clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning not attributed to the direct physiological effects of medication, drugs, or alcohol or another medical condition, such as traumatic brain injury.
Depression is common in men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD). The trauma that caused PTSD also may cause depression. If you have either of these mental health problems, it is possible you have the other. You may need to treat both of them.
Research shows that physical and emotional trauma can directly affect yourmemory. Some of this memory loss may be a temporary way to help you cope with the trauma, and some of this memory loss may be permanent due to a severe brain injury or severe psychological trauma.
Severe emotional trauma causes lasting changes in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex region of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotional responses triggered by the amygdala. Specifically, this region regulates negative emotions like fear that occur when confronted with specific stimuli.Jan 24, 2015
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD; also known as complex trauma) is a proposed diagnostic term for a variant of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that results from repetitive, prolonged trauma involving harm or abandonment by a caregiver or other interpersonal relationship with an uneven power dynamic.
Complex -PTSD is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of: domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Early childhood trauma generally refers to the traumatic experiences that occur to children aged 0-6. These traumas can be the result of intentional violence—such as child physical or sexual abuse, or domestic violence—or the result of natural disaster, accidents, or war.
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.
Acute stress reaction (also called acute stress disorder, psychological shock, mental shock, or simply shock) is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event, or witnessing a traumatic event that arises a strong emotional response within the individual. Nov 17, 2015
Additional information about PTSD can be found on NIMH’s post-traumatic stress disorder page.
“Don’t assume because I have PTSD I’m mentally weak. I’m atually strong. I have survived.” ~Riley Lee
Possible causes for PTSD include experiencing or witnessing:
- Military combat
- Domestic violence
- Sexual molestation
- Sexual abuse
- A kidnapping
- Child abuse
- Severe verbal abuse
- An automobile accident
- An airplane accident
- A fire
- A hurricane
- A tornado
- An animal attack
- A threatening individual with a gun or a knife
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- “Reliving” the traumatic event through thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares (Flashbacks can be triggered by anything that causes a memory of the trauma. For example, a war veteran might experience a flashback after seeing a low-flying helicopter).
- Experiencing a rapid heart beat and sweating while “reliving” the traumatic event
- Feeling numb
- Feeling emotionally detached from other people
- Sleep disturbances
- Avoidance of anything associated with the trauma
- Difficulty concentrating
- A strong response when shocked
- Extreme vigilance – Always feeling “on guard”
- Difficulty working
- Difficulty with social situations
- Inability to properly care for loved ones
The onset of symptoms usually occurs within three months of the incident, but may not occur for several years.
PTSD can affect people of any age, including children.
About 7.5 percent of Americans will experience PTSD in their lifetime.
About 5 million Americans will suffer from PTSD during any year.
Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD as men.
People with PTSD oftentimes also suffer from depression or other mental disorders.
War veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMT workers are particularly vulnerable to PTSD.
Anyone with PTSD is at a high risk for suicide.
PTSD is highly treatable with a combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy.
Types of PTSD
There are four main types of PTSD that may be experienced by an individual who has lived through a traumatic event:
1. Re-Experiencing Symptoms
Also known as reliving the event, individuals will be tormented by horrible memories and nightmares of the event. This can force the mind to believe that it is reliving the event over and over. Many medical professionals also refer to this event as a flashback.
Many individuals who are burdened by PTSD have the tendency to avoid situations that may trigger any memories that remind them of the traumatic event. This can also lead to avoiding any thought processes that pertain to the situation.
3. Negative Personality Changes
Personality changes are another prevalent issue associated with PTSD. Sufferers will commonly have a skewed perception of how they think of themselves and how others think of them. These emotions could include shame, guilt, or fear. This can also lead individuals to be less interested in activities that they otherwise would have enjoyed prior to the event.
Hyperarousal is incredibly common for people with PTSD as it is the factor that brings forth the jittery sensations and constant state of being uneasy. This is a result of constantly being on the lookout for dangerous situations.
35 Facts About PTSD Related Suicide
1. In 2012 over 5000 suicides in the United States alone occurred as a result of combat-based PTSD.
2. PTSD related suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
3. 7.5% of people in the world experience PTSD during their lifetime.
4. 5 million Americans suffer from PTSD on an annual basis.
5. Women are 2 times more likely (10%) to acquire PTSD than men (5%).
6. The majority of individuals with PTSD also suffer from further mental disorders such as depression.
7. Police officers, firefighters, war veterans, and EMT workers are more vulnerable to PTSD than traditional citizens.
8. Anyone who is suffering from PTSD is at an incredibly high risk for suicide.
9. 22% of people who had suffered PTSD from rape attempted suicide at one point in their lifetime.
10. 23% of individuals with PTSD from a physical assault event also attempted suicide at one point in their lives.
11. 24% of individuals who were confronted with sexual assault as a child attempted suicide throughout their lifetime.
12. The severity of PTSD depends on the severity of the situation and the duration of the event.
13. Aside from self-harm, sufferers from PTSD will be prone to other dangerous behavior such as violence, hatred, and estrangement.
14. 60% of women in the world experience a trauma at one point in their lives.
15. 50% of men experience a trauma at one point in their lives.
16. 11% to 20% of veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars suffer from PTSD.
17. 10% of the Gulf War vets suffer from PTSD.
18. 30% of veterans from Vietnam suffer from PTSD.
19. 55% of women in the military developed a form of PTSD from sexual harassment and assault.
20. 38% of men in the military developed a form of PTSD from sexual harassment and assault.
21. 36.6% of PTSD victims are classified as severe cases (at-risk for suicide).
22. The majority of individuals suffering from PTSD are between the ages of 45 and 59, followed by 30 years of age and 44 years old.
23. 49.9% of people suffering from PTSD are currently in the process of receiving treatment via a licensed healthcare professional.
24. $42.3 billion is allocated to the prevention and assistance associated with PTSD treatment.
25. Individuals with PTSD have the highest rate of using healthcare services due to the fact that there are wide arrays of symptoms experienced from this disorder.
26. 60% to 80% of individuals who are victims of a severe traumatic event will develop PTSD.
27. 50% of outpatient mental health professionals have PTSD.
28. There have been higher rates of PTSD seen in African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics.
29. 1 in 5 veterans returning from combat will have PTSD.
30. 13% to 43% of boys and girls will experience a traumatic event during their childhood.
31. 30% to 60% of children who survive a specific disaster suffer from PTSD.
32. 33% of youth that are exposed to community violence develop PTSD.
33. 90% of sexually abused children develop PTSD.
34. 77% of children exposed to a school shooting develop PTSD.
35. Over 65% of children exposed to a traumatic event will attempt to take their own life at one point during their lifetime.
PTSD and Suicide
- Aside from the many negative factors associated with PTSD, the most unfortunate aspect is that individuals have a higher potential for participating in suicide.
- Considering that PTSD can completely change the way that a person sees the world, it is an incredibly difficult condition to try to overcome.
- With the combination of depression, hyperarousal, and always believing that something negative is going to occur, suicide may seem like the only option for many sufferers.
- PTSD is an incredibly detrimental mental health condition that requires an ample amount of treatment.
- If left untreated, the sufferer could experience an array of different symptoms ranging from abusive tendencies to depression.
- Unfortunately, without the SUICIDALhelp of a trained mental health professional, individuals who suffer from PTSD are incredibly likely to take their own life.
- As the leading cause of suicide around the world, it is imperative that if you or someone that you know is suffering from PTSD, you should find medical assistance immediately.
- This will most certainly help to ensure that you are able to live a happy and healthy life without fear of the event occurring again.
I will be posting something important about mental illness every day throughout the month of May on my blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Please keep visiting my blog My Loud Whispers of Hope and look for statistics or other beneficial information related to mental illness to increase awareness, educate, reduce mental illness stigma and prevent suicides.
It is crucial and imperative for all of us to get involved and save lives.
So, please visit my blog every day, but especially every day throughout the month of May.
Mental illness awareness and education saves lives.
Opening the dialogue about mental illness saves lives.
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Please see my post about my campaign titled, “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.” I need your help. Please let me know if you want to share your story and I will post it on my blog.
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May your cup of life overflow with love, joy, peace, wellness and many other blessings.
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