After a traumatic experience it is normal to be frightened, anxious, sad, and confused. Many people are able to process the emotions and experiences and come out the other end of it. However, if you remain in psychological shock, feel like it will never be over, and can’t feel normal, you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can develop following a traumatic situation that threatens your safety or which causes feelings of helplessness. Soldiers are usually associated with PTSD, however any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD. Traumatic events can be war, natural disasters, car crashes, rape, assault or physical or sexual abuse. It can develop from an experience where you directly are the subject of or just witness a traumatic event.
The symptoms can develop within hours or days or can take weeks, months or longer. They can come on quickly or come and go for a period of time. They can be brought on by a picture, smell, word or noise. There are three main types of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma;
- Increasing anxiety or emotions.
If you think you or a loved one have PTSD it is important to seek help right away. The sooner you get help the easier it is to get over it. It is not a weakness and you must confront and process the experience. Recovery is a gradual, ongoing process.
The National Center for PTSD recommends seeking help as soon as possible. Early treatment can be effective, can help avoid related to health problems, and can result in improving relationships with family and friends.
There are several types of treatment available for PTSD. These include
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, Medication or Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing (EMDR).
For questions or appointment call Ann Wolf,LPC at 732-245-4208.