PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

soldier PTSD

PTSD Happens When S**t Happens

Trauma.  That’s the start of the disorder.  Man or woman, soldier or civilian.  Any one of us can become a victim.  It takes a big traumatic event.  Big!  And, it changes your brain and body in ways that don’t automatically or quickly change back.  You are a victim once and then, with PTSD or CPTSD, you remain a victim over and over again.

 

Articles related to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder):

It Is Treatable

People with PTSD can be successfully treated.  There are good medicines (some better than others) and good therapies (again, some better than others).  It’s important to know that this is an area where one size does NOT fit all.  You need to see someone that can prescribe medication if it’s needed.  And, someone who is an empathetic listener and can help with education and therapy, if needed.  And someone with whom you can “connect” and feel comfortable.  An authentic person.  These might be all one person or one or two professionals.  Or several in a clinic care team.

No One Trauma – There Are Many Possible

Many types of bad events and experiences can cause PTSD.  The battles in war.  Physical abuse.  Being mugged and beaten.  Psychological/emotional abuse.  Sexual abuse.  Domestic violence.  Near rape and rape.  Severe traffic crashes.  Natural disasters or terrorist attacks.  Sadly, the list seems almost endless of what can go wrong in life.

Complex PTSD (CPTSD)

It gets worse.  A little over 20 years ago it was realized that there is a worse form of PTSD.  Maybe caused by a worse trauma.  Maybe repeated trauma over and over for months or years.  Other things start to go wrong beyond the usual list of signs and symptoms associated with PTSD.  Maybe harder to treat, but still treatable.

Medical Treatment

Specifically-trained health care providers can treat PTDS, including CPTSD.  Of course, there is no way to force treatment on a person.  And, there are people with PTSD who feel so damaged they don’t want help.  They can’t let anyone, or at least not any medical professional, into their life.  These are individuals who have been hit hard.  What they have been through has changed them, changed their brain.  They are vulnerable.  They need treatment, but just can’t do it.

(If you join as a member, there’s more on treating PTSD at https://www.neuroscirandd.com/member-page/ptsd-treatment/)

Now We Know What It Is

Some soldiers from previous wars never got well.  Shell shock in World War I.  Combat stress reaction in World War II.  War neurosis.  Soldier’s heart.  Every war had its name for what we now call PTSD.  Before we knew what to do many never got well.

The Faces of PTSD; All Can Be Present

There are 3 main ways PTSD can present.  (1) The person feeling that he/she is living through the event again, (2) staying away from people and places and letting emotions go numb, (3) alert, too alert, always on the alert.  

Let’s take a look with a bit more detail.

Living the Event Again

Living through the event again includes several types of re-living.  Upsetting memories can haunt a person.  Bad dreams make even sleep unrestful and no escape.  Flashbacks, the sudden feeling that the trauma is happening again right now.  The individual can have big reactions to even small reminders that occur as a relevant reminder of the traumatic event.

Not Wanting “To Go There”

The second broad symptom category includes not thinking about the trauma, not letting feelings come up (pushing feelings down and out of awareness), staying far away from any possible reminders of the trauma, and just plain really and actually forgetting that it happened.  The person with PTSD can completely lose interest in life’s important events and relationships and feel like other people don’t matter.  They might just be flat or blank as far as emotions are concerned.  “Life’s about over,” is another thought that might be present.

If You’re Coming for Me, I’m Ready for You

Finally, the third category of presenting symptoms are the “alert” type.  This group can include poor sleep, and being “edgy” and irritable, and unexpectedly quick to anger.  Another part of this one is confusion or being mentally unclear.  The person might have trouble just thinking.  He might be always on the alert for trouble, ready to take action.  Ready with a dollar’s worth of response to a nickel’s worth of provocation.

Helpful links:

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

The Mayo Clinic

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

American Psychiatric Association

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd