PTSD Doesn’t Only Impact Veterans

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Over the years it has had many other names, including “shell shock” after World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II. However PTSD doesn’t just occur in war veterans. It is a psychiatric disorder that can happen to anyone of any nationality, culture, age or ethnicity. It can effect anyone who has experienced or been witness to a traumatic event, it can even affect those who have been indirectly exposed to something traumatic. For example, PTSD can occur in a family member learning of the violent death of someone else in the family. 

Those suffering with PTSD may have intense horrifying thoughts and feelings that relate to their experiences or their trauma, well after the event is over. They may have flashbacks or nightmares, they could feel depressed, extremely angry or scared and they may begin to feel disconnected from those around them. Individuals going through PTSD may avoid any situation or person that reminds them of the traumatic event and they may have strong negative responses to innocuous things like a touch or a particular noise. 

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD can be caused by any experience you perceive as stressful or traumatic which may include:

Dealing with a mental illness (your own or someone else close to you)

Childhood trauma (anything from sexual abuse, abandonment, rejection, neglect etc)

A job where you are regularly exposed to traumatic events (such as a policeman working regularly on child sex abuse cases)

Abusing substances or alcohol. (You will be putting your body under a lot of stress whilst abusing substances, whether you realise you are experiencing traumatic events or not.)

Witnessing violence in any form. 

PTSD effects everyone

Although many believe that PTSD is a mental health condition that strictly relates to those who have been away fighting at war, it is important that the general public understand that this is not the case. According to psychiatry professor Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD “It’s also an underappreciated and underdiagnosed disorder among the civilian population, whether it be the result of abuse, rape, violence or accidents”. Niculescu also believes that many people with PTSD slip under the radar and are misdiagnosed because their PTSD causes them to act out in other ways such as ‘drinking more, other addictions, suicide or violence1)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190312092510.htm accessed 31/8/2019

Tina Kempin Reuter, associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences and director for UAB Institute for Human Rights also sees PTSD as something that needs highlighting among society. She says that, “we must see PTSD, and other trauma-related disorders, as mental health issues that face many survivors of human rights violations2)Taunton, Y. “PTSD is not just for veterans, it’s a trauma disorder that affects millions” https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/10726-ptsd-is-not-just-for-veterans-it-s-a-trauma-disorder-that-affects-millions – Accessed on 31/8/2019”.

‘U.S. National Library of Medicine research indicates that, when people experience trauma firsthand, it changes the brain. Several areas of the brain are involved. A stress response includes the amygdala, hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. PTSD and trauma can cause lasting changes in those areas of the brain.3)ibid.

How to cope with and treat PTSD

Unfortunately because we can’t always control when trauma may happen to us, it is almost impossible to prevent PTSD. However there are ways and means to help you cope with and move through the trauma after the event, in order to lessen the symptoms of PTSD. 

First of all it is important that any barriers are broken down that prevent PTSD sufferers from seeking the help that they need. Sadly in today’s society there are still numerous barriers that can often be found to hinder individuals from getting much needed therapeutic help for their trauma. These barriers can include lack of knowledge and understanding about trauma and PTSD. A lack of access to education or resources around mental health issues, discrimination and fear that many individuals experience before seeking the help of a professional. This fear may come because of shame around the event, or their feelings, or it may be to do with stigma that is sometimes still attached to seeing a therapist or counsellor. 

PTSD is a treatable illness. With the help of Khiron Clinics you may find that the years you have spent fighting one disorder after another – anxiety, depression, anger management issues, substance abuse etc, may be resolved if you are able to look at your symptoms through a different perspective. Healing from trauma is not going to be easy, but it is possible. Reach out now to discover that you are not alone. 

Stop the cycle of merry-go-round treatment and find the solution you’re looking for in trauma treatment. Through effective residential treatment, Khiron Clinics can help you find the path you need toward health and wellness in recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190312092510.htm accessed 31/8/2019
2. Taunton, Y. “PTSD is not just for veterans, it’s a trauma disorder that affects millions” https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/10726-ptsd-is-not-just-for-veterans-it-s-a-trauma-disorder-that-affects-millions – Accessed on 31/8/2019
3. ibid.

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