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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a particular disorder that is based on the etiology of trauma. It is a debilitating response to witnessing and/or experiencing an extremely traumatic stressor involving physical threat, serious harm, death or threat of death. As mentioned earlier, it can also involve a response to a prolonged or chronic stressor.

A person with PTSD feels intense fear, horror, feelings of inadequacy or helplessness as a result of the traumatic event(s) or situation.

While the traumatic event(s) or situation may have ended long ago, the person's reaction may not. The intrusion of the past into the present is one of the main problems confronting a survivor of trauma. This intrusion may appear as distressing intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or an overwhelming emotional state. Survivors of repetitive early trauma, such as child abuse, are likely to instinctively continue to use the same self-protective coping strategies that they employed to shield themselves from harm at the time of the traumatic experience. Dissociation, hypervigilance, avoidance, and numbing are typical coping patterns that may have been adaptive and effective at one time, but later interfere with the person's ability to function.

These symptoms are an adaptation to a horrific and/or unbearable event or situation. They represent the person's attempt to cope in the best way they can with their overwhelming feelings. Every symptom helped a survivor to cope in the past and is still in the present in some way.

Learning about post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the first steps to recovery. The following are some of the myths and corresponding facts to help you begin the healing process and make the ultimate decision to seek proper treatment for total wellness:

Myth: PTSD is something that weak individuals experience.
Fact: PTSD can happen to anyone. It is a human response to an abnormal situation and is brought on by the stress of the event.

Myth: Having PTSD means I am crazy.
Fact: Sometimes your body can get stuck in the fight-or-flight response mode and needs to be retrained to cope differently.

Myth: PTSD symptoms are pretty common for many who’ve been in distressing situations.
Fact: While memories of frightening experiences can be similar to PTSD, the difference is the intensity and vividness of the memories. Feeling as if you are relieving the trauma is a flashback, remembering it is not.

Myth: PTSD should not be considered a serious disorder.
Fact: PTSD can be debilitating for some individuals and come with severe mood, anxiety and substance abuse issues. These problems can affect an individual’s ability to keep a job, have normal relationships, and have proper social interactions.

Myth: Having this mental disorder means I will always be sick.
Fact: While PTSD is disruptive, it is a highly treatable disorder. Not only do PTSD treatment facilities use psychotherapies and medicine, they also can incorporate creative therapies to help with stress and rejuvenate the whole self. In addition, treatment is not limited to in-hospital stays.

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