After going through a distressing event, people may have difficulty coping with their feelings about what happened. Usually, after some time and self-care, people feel better and can leave the past event. Sometimes, the traumatic event’s effects linger for months or years and can keep people from living their lives as usual. People may be unable to stop thinking about what happened, have sleep disruption and nightmares, or flashbacks. These are all signs of a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. About three million Americans struggle with PTSD every year. It is a treatable condition, but people often need professional support to work through it.
Being involved in or just witnessing a distressing event can lead to PTSD. These symptoms can interfere with someone’s ability to work, socialize, or participate fully in their lives. The symptoms can cause a lot of anxiety and can be very disruptive if left untreated. People with PTSD must get help with addressing their trauma and learning coping mechanisms to manage their symptoms.
At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we are here to guide you through the symptoms of PTSD and develop the coping mechanisms to live your life to the fullest. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you do not have to struggle alone. Reach out to us for information about our supportive programs by calling 855.786.1978.
What Are the Signs of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD can show up at different times. Sometimes, people begin to experience symptoms within a month of the traumatic event. It is also common for symptoms to begin years after the event without warning. The intensity of the symptoms can change over time, too. There are many ways that people experience PTSD, but some common symptoms are:
- Intrusive memories
- Negative thinking or mood
- Being startled easily
- Feelings of being “on guard” all the time
- Flashbacks (re-living the event)
What Types of Trauma Lead to PTSD?
Trauma is psychological damage that happens due to an overwhelming amount of stress that keeps someone from coping with the event at the moment. The effects of trauma can linger for years if left untreated. Trauma treatment is important to allow people to return to their lives and function within the community.
Any traumatic event can lead to PTSD. Events that commonly lead to this condition include physical abuse, sexual violence, life-threatening events like car or plane crashes, combat exposure, or a troubling medical diagnosis.
Understanding Symptoms of PTSD
It can sometimes be hard to diagnose PTSD because symptoms like anxiety or depression can be similar to other mental health issues. Some symptoms set PTSD apart that can be helpful with a diagnosis:
- Fear and anxiety: Fear and anxiety are common symptoms of PTSD. Often after a traumatic event, the person might begin to have anxiety about talking or thinking about the event. They may have intense anxiety about returning to the site of the event or being around people who were involved in the event. They may avoid any places, peoples, or memories of anything associated with their trauma. If they cannot avoid these things, they may have ongoing, intense anxiety that does not get better with time.
- Flashbacks and nightmares: Sometimes, people with PTSD can get “stuck” in the event. They may relive the memory of the event in their waking life. When they feel as though they are immersed in the event, they may be unaware of what is actually happening around them. They may relive the moment and experience the same intensity of their trauma as when it happened. These events are called flashbacks. Similarly, people may experience realistic, traumatic nightmares. They may dream about the event frequently and have the same feelings they experienced during the actual trauma. These dreams can be so upsetting and frequent that the person may fear going to sleep.
- Unwanted memories: People with PTSD may experience an inability to stop thinking about the event. They may have extreme distress and physical reactions to things that remind them of the trauma. Not having control over their thoughts can make the person feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable.
Learn More About Managing PTSD at Northern Illinois Recovery Center
PTSD is a serious disorder that can have a devastating impact on a sufferer’s life if left untreated. At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we understand how the symptoms of PTSD can have life-altering effects. We want to see every client fully recover and live the life they want. Our master-level therapists utilize a broad range of therapies to help clients achieve these results, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic treatment approach
If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, you do not have to manage them alone. Reach out to the caring staff at the Northern Illinois Recovery Center for more information about their treatment programs by calling 855.786.1978 or using the online form.