Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

(back to home page)

Do you want to know what PTSD is?

PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the emergence of certain levels of dysfunction in dealing with daily life stresses after experiencing a traumatic stress event. Some symptoms of this disorder include: Insomnia, high startle response, recurring nightmares, isolation to maintain safety, obsessive thoughts/compulsive actions to provide sense of safety, and employing personally designed actions to insure safety.

More about PTSD:

Common Reactions after Trauma-
Following a traumatic event, people typically describe feeling things like relief to be alive, followed by stress, fear and anger. They also often find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened. Many people also exhibit high levels of anxiety or  constant preparation for attack. Stress reactions happen naturally and have nothing to do with personal strength or weakness. Ideally, traumatic stress symptoms slowly diminish over time.

Most trauma survivors (including combat veterans, abused children, and disaster rescue or relief workers) experience common stress reactions soon after the event. Understanding what is happening when you or someone you know reacts to a traumatic event will help you be less fearful and better able to handle things. The common reactions that may last for several days or a few weeks include:

  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Feeling detachment or lack of concern about others
  • Trouble concentrating, indecisiveness
  • Jumpiness; startling easily at sudden noises
  • Nervous system on guard and constantly alert
  • Disturbing dreams, memories or flashbacks
  • Work, school and family problems

Physical reactions also can be experienced such as:

  • Stomach upset, trouble eating
  • Trouble sleeping, exhaustion
  • Pounding heart, rapid breathing, edginess
  • Severe headache if thinking of the event, sweating
  • Failure to engage in healthy exercise, diet, safe sex, regular health care
  • Excess smoking, alcohol, drugs, food
  • Worsening of chronic medical problems

Emotional reactions can occur such as:

  • Feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, sad
  • Feeling shock, numbness, unable to experience love or joy
  • Avoiding people, places, and things related to the event
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Becoming easily upset or agitated
  • Self-blame or negative views of oneself or the world
  • Distrust of others, conflict, being over-controlling
  • Withdrawal, feeling rejected or abandoned
  • Loss of intimacy or feeling detached

Recovery is a gradual process with ups and downs. It doesn't happen through suddenly being "cured" and it doesn't mean that you will forget what happened. For most people, fear, anxiety, flashbacks, efforts to avoid reminders (triggers), and arousal (hyper-alertness) symptoms  gradually decrease in frequency and intensity over time.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop after someone has experienced a life-threatening situation. The symptoms listed above do not fade over the course of several weeks, but persist, or possibly appear after years of no severe symptoms. People with PTSD often can't stop thinking about what happened to them. They may try to avoid people and places that remind them of the trauma and may work hard to push thoughts of the event out of their head. Feeling numb is another common reaction. People especially find that they have trouble relaxing. They startle easily and often feel on guard.  If your emotional reactions are causing problems for you, know that good treatments are available.  (excerpt from: http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/fact_shts/fs_commonreactions.html)

MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA

Military Sexual Trauma may occur when any form of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or unwanted sexual activities are visited upon an unwilling participant within the Military.  Many of the symptoms of PTSD are experienced by those experiencing MST.  Following  Release Exercises will provide some relief. However, it is important to have counseling support.  For more information: www.militarysexualtrauma.org 

topics menu

resources

 

Copyright © 2009 The Merritt Center