Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is very poorly understood among the general populace. Let’s learn more about what Ptsd is, how it affects people, and the signs you need to be aware of in the aftermath of a traumatic event…
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition that flares in the aftermath of a traumatic event. It is characterised by recurrent “flashbacks” to the event, as well as an increased likelihood of comorbid issues with anxiety and/or depression.
Do civilians get PTSD?
Yes. While PTSD is common in the military, anyone can develop PTSD, not just those who have seen military service.
What triggers PTSD?
There is simply no way to know this for sure. In the aftermath of terrorist incidents, people can suffer from PTSD if they were not even in the area of the attack— while those who were directly injured escape PTSD altogether. Proximity is not a deciding factor of who suffers from PTSD.
Even when people suffer through the exact same traumatic event, in an identical way, there is no guarantee they will all experience PTSD to the same degree. Let’s say you and two friends are travelling in a car that’s hit by a truck; you and one of your friends could be completely fine (excluding the physical injuries) in the aftermath. Despite experiencing the exact same event, the third may struggle with PTSD for years to come. There’s simply no way of predicting PTSD.
Does severity of the traumatic incident influence how severe PTSD is?
No. Anyone who suffers any kind of traumatic incident can develop PTSD. Whether it’s a suburban mom whose child goes missing for an afternoon, a truck accident victim, or someone who lives through a terror attack, they can all suffer from PTSD. If they perceived the incident to be traumatic, they can suffer PTSD as a result of it. There is no correlation between the severity of the incident and the level of PTSD they experience; trauma is entirely subjective, after all.
Are people with PTSD violent?
Not necessarily; this is an odd myth that has been popular for many years, but it’s fair to say that it has been overstated in the media. In most cases, PTSD as a condition presents without any violence at all. Violence and PTSD do not go hand in hand; the research shows that there is only a mild link between violence and PTSD, and many PTSD sufferers become more reserved and reclusive as a result of the condition - quite the opposite of the cliched portrayal.
How is PTSD treated?
Therapy and medications can be beneficial. While PTSD cannot be “cured” in a conventional sense, it can be successfully managed with the right combination of treatment.
Hopefully, you have found this primer on the realities of PTSD useful. If you believe you — or someone you know — may be suffering from PTSD, then do get in touch with a mental health professional such as using the Dr Julian service as soon as possible; they will be able to provide the advice, guidance, and support you need. Good luck.