We hear about shootings and violence on the news, and it’s easy to become paralyzed by fear or, if we have experienced trauma, not know how to cope. For this reason, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We must treat both the physical symptoms while remembering that the relational aspects of PTSD are equally important.
Types of PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Discorder evidences itself in symptoms often categorized into three components: re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal. It’s impossible to know ahead of time how a person will experience trauma or how it will evidence itself through symptoms. Regardless of how strong or subtle the symptoms are, please get help.
Avoidance symptoms happen when a person shuts down to protect themself from trauma. They might stay way from places, people, or events that feel connected to the original experience. Avoiders can feel emotionally numb, or be beset by strong feelings of guilt, depression, or worry. A person might lose interest in things that were previously satisfying to them. Symptoms can manifest much later following the event. To avoid the painful memory of a car crash, for instance, someone might change their routine to exclude driving.
Hyperarousal is a person’s attempt to avoid another traumatic event and is often based on fear. A person may startle easily or get overly angry as they focus their awareness in certain areas, while also narrowing their awareness at other times. They usually feel tense, on edge, or not able to sleep or relax. Rather than being triggered by events, hyperarousal is often constant. Hyperarousal makes a person feel stressed or angry without originating cause, and it can make daily tasks very difficult.
When is PTSD a problem?
It’s normal to have some of these symptoms after experiencing trauma. Often the symptoms will go away on their own after a few weeks. If this is the case, then you are dealing with Acute Stress Disorder. If the symptoms persist and last more than a month, or they surface weeks (or months) later, a person might be experiencing PTSD. When not treated correctly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can drastically change a person’s quality of life and relationships. Seeking professional help is vital. PTSD symptoms can even been seen in people in relationships with those with PTSD.
Get Help Now for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
As a Christian counselor, I’ve worked with many people dealing with PTSD. PTSD can result from sexual abuse or traumatic experiences where an injury occurred. In any case, we must work together to understand what happened, how it has been experienced and processed, what was believed to be true or untrue, and how it affects relationships. Christian counseling in Spokane can help people recover and get back to living healthy, flourishing lives.
“Hair,” courtesy of Aricka Lewis, unsplash.com, Public Domain License; “Leaving,” courtesy of Andrew Neel, unsplash.com, Public Domain License