More than half of Americans experience a traumatic event in their life, according to the National Center for PTSD.
More than half of Americans experience a traumatic event in their life, according to the National Center for PTSD. These events can include anything from military service to car accidents and from assault to natural disasters. In some cases, it may not even be an event the individual personally experiences – trauma can also come from learning about a loved one’s sudden injury or death, or from witnessing someone else experience a traumatic event.
While it’s normal to have trouble sleeping or feel on edge shortly after a traumatic event, most people will start to feel better in a few weeks or months. Those who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), though, see symptoms continue longer than that and interrupt their daily lives.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
Flashbacks or nightmares
Unwelcome memories can pop up at any time, or they may be triggered by something that reminds you of an event. A familiar example is the sound of fireworks bringing back memories of battle for combat veterans.
Avoiding things that remind of you of the traumatic event
You might try to avoid places or people that remind you of the event or try to stay busy to you can avoid thinking about it.
Increase in negative thoughts and feelings
You might feel sad or numb; things that you used to enjoy might not interest you anymore. You might also feel guilt or shame about the event, and think about what you might have done to prevent it.
You may have trouble sleeping or relaxing. You might also feel angry or irritable. These feelings can contribute to behaviors like drinking, using drugs or driving aggressively.
The good news, though, is that PTSD is treatable. Therapy and medication can both help ease PTSD symptoms, giving trauma survivors a better quality of life with fewer problems in their relationship, career and education. Even if you wonder if you are ready for treatment or fear that maybe it’s too late to seek help, it’s still a good idea to call a therapist, like those at Ozark Center.
The truth is it’s never too late to recover from a past psychological wound. And the sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you can start to feel better.
For more information about PTSD services at Ozark Center, call 417.347.7600.
Jacob Hefner, EdS, LPC, is Ozark Center Director of Adult Outpatient Services. He has received specialized training in the fields of substance use disorders, first-episode psychosis and mental health treatment. He has over 12 years’ experience in the mental health field.