It can be hard just getting through the day. In the morning, you may see a news story about Afghanistan, which brings back a memory from when you served.
During the afternoon drive home, you feel your stress levels rise as you drive past some trash in road. Over there, you would have swerved to avoid it but here you can’t.
Bedtime is always the worst because it’s so hard to get to sleep. Usually, you have a drink or two to relax and unwind so you can drift off. But you never actually get a full night’s sleep.
If this sounds like you, it may be that you’re struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition in which someone who experiences a traumatic event (or events) continues to relive that experience long afterward.
The trauma can come from events like a car accident, abuse, or going through combat.
The thoughts and memories you experience are not always present. This allows you some space to get through your day. But sometimes they’re “triggered” by a sight, sound, or even smell that brings them rushing back.
For others, it’s like they’ve never left the trauma at all. It’s always front and center no matter what they do.
As you can imagine, untreated PTSD can make it very difficult to function or lead a normal life. That’s because your brain is still focused on the trauma and needs to process what happened.
Symptoms of PTSD
There’s a wide range of symptoms associated with PTSD, including both mental and physical. You may not experience every single symptom, but if you have PTSD you’ll recognize many:
- Intrusive memories of the event (or events) that keep coming back
- Upsetting and disturbing thoughts
- Having a pessimistic or negative outlook on life
- Feeling devoid of emotion or “empty” inside
- Trouble finding the positive in a situation or life
- Feeling fearful or afraid often
- Being quick to get angry
- Experiencing intense feelings of anger
- Feeling guilty or ashamed
- Substance abuse
- Becoming anxious
- Trouble staying focused on tasks
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts
As you can see, PTSD can involve many symptoms. Reflect as to whether any of these apply to you.
However, if you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide call 911 or 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
What Is the Treatment for PTSD?
The good news is that PTSD is a treatable condition. There are several options available for those struggling with PTSD.
Some PTSD treatments include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is where you and a therapist identify thought and behavior patterns that provoke your PTSD in order to change those patterns.
- Exposure Therapy: In exposure therapy, you’re gradually exposed to the things that trigger your PTSD. Then you process what happened with a therapist. The objective is to get to a point where you no longer feel triggered.
- Medication: Medication can greatly help with symptom relief. It won’t solve PTSD, but it does help with taking the edge off so you can be more open to therapeutic treatment.
- Support Groups: Support groups of people who have been where you are and relate to what you’re going through can help with better understanding PSTD in a setting that reminds you that you’re not alone.
Military service brings with it a host of opportunities as well as challenges.
Unfortunately, depending on the era, 12-20% of veterans experience PTSD due to their military service. But this doesn’t mean all is lost; there is hope.
If you’re struggling with PTSD, please know there are people who can and want to help. There is a solution to this problem. By reaching out and participating in therapy, it is possible to overcome PTSD.
trauma therapy Columbus Ohio
If you decide you’re in need of a high quality counseling practice in the Columbus, OH area for PTSD treatment, please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today. Andy, a veteran and owner/counselor at Blue Boat Counseling, can help you be you again.