Did you know that almost 8 million people in the United States will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in their lifetime?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops following a frightening, stressful, or traumatic event. Symptoms of fear, helplessness, stress, and moodiness can be so intense that an individual’s quality of life may suffer due to a diagnosis of PTSD. If someone you know is living with PTSD, it may be difficult to understand just what they are going through, so it is important to learn about this condition to better understand how to properly offer care and support.
What Causes PTSD?
As the name suggests, PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event. There is no exact science behind what is considered a qualifying event for this condition. To name just a few, a traumatic event can be a car accident, acts of war or combat, a natural disaster, a sexual assault, or an abusive relationship.
Symptoms of PTSD
Individuals living with PTSD experience triggers, or something that reminds them of the traumatic event. Nearly everything can be a trigger – a person, place, sound, or date. Triggers can often lead to nightmares, flash backs, and panic attacks that can occur strongly and unexpectedly. This can lead to difficulty coping following the event, which can last for months or even years and impede on day-to-day life. Other symptoms include negative changes in thinking and mood, such as hopelessness for the future and lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed. For these reasons, it is critical for those living with PTSD to seek care to better manage symptoms.
How to Help Someone with PTSD
To know how to help someone with PTSD, it is important to educate yourself about the condition, lend an ear to a loved one struggling, and offer support whenever possible. Since an individual living with PTSD may become withdrawn from those closest to them to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, understanding and respecting boundaries is important. Allowing your loved one to talk freely about their trauma on their own terms is a great way to offer support as well. To help a loved one living with PTSD work through their trauma and readjust, encourage them to engage in social activities they previously enjoyed in a trusted environment. Everyone living with PTSD deals with their diagnosis differently, so patience, open-mindedness, and understanding is key.
If you or someone you know is living with symptoms of PTSD, consider a clinical trial with BTC of New Bedford. You may be eligible to receive treatment at no cost to you and contribute to medical research!