What do you know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD?
PTSD is often associated with battlefield experience in the military, but trauma can affect any one.
“No one is immune from trauma,” said Deborah Lidzy, Crisis Response Specialist in Adult Behavioral Health at Swope Health Services. “Trauma does not discriminate in any way.”
PTSD can occur after you have experienced a traumatic event. Traumatic events are anything shocking, scary or dangerous where you feel like your life is in danger or you have no control over what is happening.
Trauma can be caused by sexual abuse, physical assault, serious accidents, like a car wreck, natural disasters like fire, tornado, flood or earthquake, or combat exposure.
Not everyone who experiences a trauma will have symptoms of PTSD, Deborah said, but repeated traumas may increase the likelihood of having post-traumatic stress.
The main symptoms of PTSD include:
- Not sleeping or re-experiencing the event in bad dreams, frightening thoughts or flashbacks
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings, like feeling negative about yourself, or feeling guilt, blame or lacking interest in enjoyable activities
- Hyper-vigilance — being jittery, tense, or constantly on the lookout for danger
“It’s normal to have a stress reaction after a trauma,” Deborah said, “but if these behaviors interfere with your life, it’s time to seek help.”
The most effective treatment is a combination of counseling and medication. Counseling involves meeting with a therapist to understand how your trauma changed your thoughts and feelings, and to learn new ways of coping.
“The more you talk about the situation, the emotion gets less and less,” Deborah said. “The only way around the fire is through the fire.”
SHS provides trauma-informed care that is customized and personal to each patient.
“The most important thing is to get started,” Deborah said. “It’s better to deal with it right away and don’t let it build up. We can help you deal with it, work through it, learn some coping skills.”
Have you struggled after a trauma? Or do you know someone who may be suffering after a trauma? We are here for you. Please call 816-923-5800 and visit our Behavioral Health services for support.