Americans hear a lot about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). More often, than not, they associate the disorder with Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. But people should know that PTSD can be caused by events other than warfare.
PTSD can be the result of experiencing any form of traumatic event. A car accident, robbery, a natural disaster, or any tragedy can cause the onset of symptoms.
After a traumatic event, it is common for people to experience symptoms that are the brain’s way of reacting to and coping with what was seen, heard, smelled, touched or remembered. These symptoms include unpleasant memories of the event, difficulty sleeping, and an increased level of anxiety. After most experiences, these responses go away with time. But if these reactions do not subside, or if they get worse, the person experiencing them may have PTSD.
Those suffering with PTSD can experience flashbacks to the event, especially on the anniversary of the event. They may also feel a sense of blame, increased anger, difficulty concentrating, increased substance abuse, and changes in their behavior. It is not uncommon for them to feel detached.
For all that we know about PTSD, specialists can’t clearly determine why some people suffer from PTSD, and others who experienced the same or similar events don’t. But variables have been known to contribute to the possibility of getting PTSD, including how close you were to what happened, if you were injured, how much or little control you felt, and how much support you received.
For the men and woman who live with PTSD, every day can be a struggle through unimaginable suffering. It is our duty as parents, children, siblings, cousins, friends, co-workers and countrymen to render assistance to PTSD sufferers in any way that we can.
The best way to help is by being informed. The VA offers a booklet entitled Understanding PTSD . While not specific towards Veterans with PTSD, the booklet can be used for anyone who wants to know more. The VA’s PTSD portal contains a wealth of information about PTSD, its causes, symptoms and how to seek assistance. Sharing the information might just save a life.
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