According to PTSD research, 70% of people in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives. And for up to 20% of those who experience trauma, this event will result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD, which was officially recognized as a mental health disorder in 1980, can be caused by trauma experienced in military combat, assault, abuse, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or even the sudden loss of a loved one.
Though everyone’s body and mind react with a “fight or flight” response during a traumatic event, people with PTSD continue to have problems long after the event has passed. PTSD can be treated with a combination of counseling, therapy, and, in some cases, medication. Do you have lingering issues from a traumatic event? Here are some examples of how PTSD can impact your daily life:
1. Psychological: PTSD can make you feel vulnerable and afraid.
Reliving the traumatic event is one of the main symptoms of PTSD. This means that images and sensations from the event will return to you, sometimes unexpectedly, and have an impact on your life. This can take several forms, such as:
- Recurring flashbacks in which you feel as if the event is happening again
- Nightmares in which the trauma is replayed
- Recurrent images or sensations from the event, such as sounds, smells, or feelings.
What impact might re-experience symptoms have on your life? These intrusive thoughts and feelings can make you feel powerless, as each trigger can return you to a state where you believe the event is repeating itself.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Quiz
Complete the questionnaire below to determine the possibility that you are exhibiting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
2. PTSD can cause you to avoid regular people, places, and things.
Many people who suffer from PTSD will begin to notice the effects of avoidance in their lives. This means you’ll begin actively avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma. For instance, if you were seriously injured in a car accident, you may begin to avoid driving or even being in cars. If the traumatic event occurred in a specific location, you may feel unable to visit that location. Avoidance can have a significant impact on your life because it requires you to alter your daily routines to work around them.
And it may not be limited to physical locations: in some cases, avoidance can occur internally as you force yourself to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings. Avoidance harms your life because it causes you to avoid normal situations out of fear.
3. Physical Health: PTSD can affect your eating, sleeping, and reaction patterns.
Many people with PTSD exhibit physical effects from trauma in addition to psychological symptoms such as re-experiencing and avoidance.
- Experiencing angry outbursts
- Sleeping, eating, and concentrating difficulties
- Feeling jittery and tense
- Becoming easily startled
These physical symptoms can make it difficult to sleep, focus, or even eat or drink normally. You may find yourself easily jumping or lashing out in anger at others. This can have serious consequences for your social life and relationships, as you may react angrily to people you care about without even realizing it.
4. Emotional and mental impact: PTSD can aﬀect your mood.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has a mental impact on many people. People suffering from PTSD frequently experience changes in the structure of their brains as a result of the trauma, which can affect levels of neurotransmitters such as cortisol and norepinephrine (stress hormones). As a result, you may encounter the following:
- Apathy toward events that once piqued your interest
- Negative emotions and thoughts (about yourself, other people, or the world)
- Memory loss about the traumatic event and what happened before it
- Guilt or blame
PTSD’s cognitive changes can have a significant impact on your quality of life, making you feel listless and depressed. You might not be interested in previous hobbies, and you might be stuck in a sad or anxious mood that you can’t seem to get out of. In some cases, these psychological effects can cause you to feel disconnected from loved ones and unable to relate to everyday life.
5. Social Impact: PTSD can make you feel isolated and alienated.
Many people with PTSD struggle with social activities and relationships because of re-experiencing and avoidance symptoms, as well as cognitive changes and physical symptoms. You may feel that those around you don’t understand what you’ve been through, and you may create distance between yourself and others. Alternatively, angry outbursts may gradually alienate you from those you care about.
When it comes to PTSD, it’s important to remember that there’s always hope for recovery, and with help, support, and patience, you can combat the disorder’s effects in your daily life.
Although most people begin to feel the effects of PTSD within three months of the traumatic event, for others, the symptoms may not appear for years. If you believe you have PTSD or have previously been diagnosed, you do not have to go through this alone. Know that many people have successfully sought help for their symptoms.
Make an appointment to speak with a caring and knowledgeable counselor. We want to assist you in starting the healing process with a PTSD Counselor.