Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a scary phrase that has many definitions for each person affected. There are so many reasons and scenarios that can cause a person to suffer from this disorder. A person who has PTSD has gone through a traumatic experience that they are now having trouble coping with. It can feel isolating and can be a truly terrifying experience long after your accident or traumatic event has ended.
Years ago, PTSD was commonly referred to as “shell shock” and “combat fatigue.” With the technology and science that we have these days, we have come to realize that PTSD does not just affect veterans and people who have been in combat. It happens to everyday people like yourself who have been through something traumatic and life changing, whether that be a car accident, a bad fall, abuse, a death, or any other instance in which a person can develop PTSD.
We are going to share with you the signs and symptoms to look out for, if you think you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD.
It is important to note that symptoms are not always immediate. In some cases, it can take months or even years for the symptoms to start showing. Like previously mentioned, this diagnosis is known to be that of a war veteran. The truth is this disease can live within anyone regardless of their occupation, who they are, or where they come from. PTSD has no boundaries.
- Detachment from people and emotions
This is one of the biggest tell-tale signs of PTSD. This symptom occurs when the person is no longer able or willing to connect with other people on an emotional level or any level at all. It’s a self-preservation technique that helps them ward off any unwanted anxiety or stress that comes from the outside world.
- Intrusive thoughts (dreams or vivid flashbacks)
This is very common in people diagnosed with PTSD. Most of the time you cannot stop these intrusive thoughts and vivid memories. You instantly relive aspects of your traumatic experience over and over again in your brain. This is taxing on your body and mind. It can feel as if you are right back where you were when the accident or traumatic event happened. This is scary, but coping mechanisms and tools can be taught to help curb this unwanted symptom
- Strong negative reactions to loud noises or being startled.
When you hear a loud noise out of nowhere, your normal reaction may be to jump. After we get scared, we move on with our day and continue as if it didn’t happen. This is not the case when you have PTSD. A loud noise or a tap on the shoulder could trigger you and cause you to have increased anxiety and a very bad reaction. Be aware of your surroundings and let people know the best way to approach you.
- Difficulty sleeping
Sleep is key to a healthy mind and body. When you have PTSD, your brain is working much harder than your average Joe. You need those crucial hours of sleep, but it is hard to get sleep on a schedule when your intrusive thoughts and vivid memories come rushing in. There will be a change in sleeping patterns for people struggling with PTSD.
- Loss of interest
PTSD can cause loss of interest in anything you loved prior to your accident. It takes away many of your simple pleasures. Even getting out of bed and walking downstairs can be difficult.
People with PTSD are neither weak nor dangerous. The myths associated with PTSD can build up stigma, which in turn prevents people from being helped. It is so important to learn the facts from the myths when it comes to mental illness and PTSD specifically.