The month of June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about PTSD. While many of the people who suffer from PTSD are war veterans, they are not alone. It is possible for anyone who has experienced or witnessed trauma to develop PTSD.
In this article, we separate fact from fiction and address some interesting information about post-traumatic stress disorder. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of this disease, you can access the proper therapeutic support and change the outcome for yourself or a loved one.
1. Almost 8 million Americans have PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is not uncommon. At any given time, roughly 8 million people in the country have PTSD. And it’s estimated that 7 or 8 people out of every 100 will develop a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime. The more people speak up about the disease, the easier it will be for victims to ask for help.
2. PTSD is more common in women than men.
Even though the stereotype of a person with PTSD is a male war veteran, females are statistically more likely to develop it than males. Research shows that about 4 percent of men develop PTSD at some point in their lives compared to 10 percent of females. This could be from the types of assaults women experience.
3. Symptoms of can take time to appear.
Surprisingly, it can take months or even years for the symptoms of PTSD to appear. Some people will experience symptoms right after a traumatic event, but it could also be acute stress disorder that has similar symptoms to PTSD. Without treatment, acute stress disorder can turn into PTSD, though this is not always the case.
4. You don’t have to be a trauma victim to develop PTSD.
Although it’s most common for PTSD to affect the direct victims of trauma, this doesn’t have to be the case. Those who witness a tragic event like a serious accident or assault can also develop PTSD. This mental health condition can also occur among first responders and other professionals who work with trauma victims.
5. Men and women may show different symptoms.
While the symptoms are the same across genders, men and women may experience them differently. For example, women tend to avoid certain situations and feel more emotional and unsettled. Men tend to be angrier and turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.
6. Children can get post-traumatic stress disorder, too.
Yes, even young children can develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Most commonly, PTSD in children comes from abuse or neglect. The more severe the trauma, the more likely a child is to develop PTSD. Sadly, these symptoms can follow them into adulthood.
7. Not everyone experiences vivid flashbacks.
Flashbacks are a very common symptom of PTSD, though not everyone gets them. Some people only have memories from the event. However, those who do have flashbacks must endure vivid sounds, smells, visions and, more than take them back to the frightful event.
8. Exposure therapy can help treat PTSD.
Exposure therapy helps people confront their fears. It does require them to go back to the trauma and work through it, which may seem counterintuitive. However, exposure therapy actually works very well for people with PTSD because they learn how to manage their symptoms and react to triggers. This therapy must be done with a qualified therapist, in a safe environment.
9. Alternative therapies can also be effective for treating PTSD.
Because a large part of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder is learning how to manage your symptoms, alternative therapies can be especially helpful. Activities like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, or art therapy can help you relax and distract you from painful memories. Some people also benefit from antidepressant medications.
10. About half of the people may recover on their own.
Some people experience symptoms for a few months and then recover on their own. Unfortunately for some people, the symptoms drag on and begin to interfere with a normal, healthy life. It’s important to recognize when support is needed, as there are many effective ways to manage the symptoms.
Start Your Healing at a Trauma Treatment Center
Awakenings Treatment Center is a trauma treatment center that works with individuals who have suffered trauma. We recognize that these survivors can experience flashbacks and memories that feel completely real.
Fortunately, these individuals do not have to suffer in silence. We are here to help them heal from past trauma and recover from ongoing substance use. Contact Awakenings to learn more about our trauma treatment center and how we can help you or a loved one.