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2015 Washington National PTSD Awareness Day: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is normal to feel fear, guilt, distress, shame, anger or helplessness after going through a traumatic experience. It will typically go away after several days or weeks. But if it still occurs after a month, then, it is most likely that you are experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The 2015 Washington National PTSD Awareness Day commemorates this happening.

Tips For Managing PTSD In The Family

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a big problem for many. It becomes a hindrance to your everyday activities. It affects your personal development and in some cases your relationships. In the family, you may have had a father who was a soldier in the past or a brother who may have suffered a traumatic car accident. It pains to see your loved one have PTSD, but it is manageable. Here are five ways to help you hold PTSD in the family.…

I Suffered From PTSD After Giving Birth To My Son

Getting pregnant after a year of marriage makes me and my husband very excited.  I was very confident that I was ready to be a mom.  We frequented my OB’s office to check how the baby is doing.  Months passed by quickly.   The day we’ve been excitedly waiting for finally came.

 

The Supposed To Be A Happy Day Turned Out To Be A Traumatic Day

Very vividly, I still can remember how the doctors suddenly became tensed and worried while we were in the delivery room.  My OB came to me and whispered that my baby’s condition is quite not beautiful.  My baby was born unconscious with his cord wrapped around his neck.  They urgently moved him to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and stayed there even after I was released from the hospital.

We had to go back every day to check on him.  For days, my spirit was crushed seeing his condition.  This was not how I imagined things would be.  I can’t even hold him yet in my arms.  The closest we can get is to embrace the incubator he was in.  It pains me seeing him in there, wondering if he will still make it, but I have to endure.

 

His image in there is still very clear in my memory.  His tiny body with tubes and wires attached.  I could see him even in my sleep, and it left me crying in the middle of the night.

 

I Developed Trust Issues

I was the happiest when he was released from the hospital after a month of fighting for his life.  It may look overacting, but I have to protect my son.  I was very detailed in everything, very particular and hands-on when it comes to his care.  I won’t even let just anyone near him.  My nightmares and fear of losing him turned me into this paranoid mom, afraid that I might lose him one day.

“With PTSD, it’s not only that the person is remembering that painful event, but the body also responds as if it’s happening again.” This is a statement made by Debi Silber, a transformational psychologist.  “So while cognitively they know it’s not, at a subconscious level, they’re re-experiencing it, and as the stress response is ignited, stress hormones are released and the cascade of physical, mental and emotional symptoms emerge,” she adds.

It Turned Out I Have A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I never thought that there is such a thing as trauma after giving birth.  My son’s pediatrician noticed how overprotective and paranoid I was when it comes to my son, that she talked to me about it.

Many new moms suffer from birth trauma due to various reasons, some of which could be

  • Extended time and painful delivery
  • Having to undergo emergent cesarean section
  • Use of forceps delivery or vacuum extraction
  • Having a baby with a disability
  • Baby being sent to NICU

 

What I went through could be enough reason to consider PTSD, but of course, I need to see a doctor to confirm.  My feelings (paranoia) that my son’s life is always under threat is a typical symptom.   The frequent nightmares and the self-blame that I might have done something during pregnancy are also determinants for the presence of PTSD.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that can occur when a person has directly experienced — or even just witnessed — an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event. People with PTSD usually have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to.” This is a clear definition of PTSD from John Grohol, Psy.D. 

How Was I Able To Recover?

I talked to my husband about what the pedia told me.   The next day, we visited a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist said to me things that made me contemplate my actions.  She was right when she told me that my relationship with my husband and other people around me would be affected by my PTSD.  And very true, sometimes, I find it hard to trust my husband when our son is left alone with him.  I know he felt upset by it sometimes, but he is being considerate of my feelings.

Colleen Cira, Psy.D. states that PTSD originates from a type of traumatic event. “It can include things like war, car accidents, rape, physical assault, or even verbal and emotional abuse. Basically, any kind of scary or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope falls into the PTSD category.”

 

 

I want to recover from the PTSD that I followed her advice to undergo counseling.  She had me meet with my OB and allowed me to ask the OB questions that are bothering me regarding my son’s condition.    The OB explained once again and precisely what happened, and assured me that my son would grow up a healthy boy, so there’s nothing I have to worry about.

 

Slowly, I recovered from the PTSD, although I’m not sure yet if I’m ready for another baby.  I am trying my best to be honest with my therapist, and she’s telling me it’s okay.  I just have to take it a day at a time.

 …

Managing A Family Member With PTSD

There is nothing more efficient than the love, acceptance, and understanding of family members.

Post-traumatic stress disorder does not only affect the person experiencing it but can also take a toll on the people around him/her.  Research suggested that children who have parents that have PTSD may experience the following:…

Types of Counseling Available For PTSD Patients

Source: thelindencentre.org

Many suffering from PTSD never understand their condition due to lack of awareness or may even sometimes not be able to deal with the symptoms without the help of a medical professional. Post-traumatic stress is extremely frightening for someone who goes through this. It not only leads to panic attacks or scary flashbacks but can even make a person incapable of performing his or her day to day tasks. It disrupts life and isolates one from his or her loved ones.

“Indeed, says psychologist Candice Monson, “epidemiological evidence fingers PTSD as one of the mental health conditions most likely to lead to relationship problems: Common examples include PSTD sufferers not wanting to attend family or social events for fear they’ll be “cornered” by an unforeseen person or circumstance; not sleeping in the same beds as their spouses because of nightmares, inciting relationship conflict due to excess anger and irritability, and overcontrolling their children’s behavior.”

Hence seeking help and support from professionals as well as family and friends becomes an important part of the treatment of PTSD.…

The Emotional Damage From The Aftermath Of A Natural Disaster

 

Traumatic events are not uncommon. In fact, about two-thirds of the general population suffers from trauma once or twice a year. Many countries, not only the United States, have had the experience of witnessing terrorism attacks and shootings, domestic and sexual abuse and forced transfers. Other countries may even have a higher incidence of these traumatic events than the United States has.

Lately, however, Americans have been overwhelmed by the hurricanes that have been damaging their homes and destroying their lives. Most of the Texas and New Orleans residents have struggled to keep themselves together just to get through their challenges daily. Some of them were even advised to go into therapy, but of course, they would ask, “How much would therapy cost?” Some who were more knowledgeable of the web perhaps came across BetterHelp.com where they can chat or talk to an online therapist about mental health problems.

“Too often”, says Jodi Spencer, LPC, “clients believe that their trauma doesn’t “rank” high enough on the imaginary scale of pain. But that’s just not the way it works. We have little control over how our brains interpret what is going on around us. Our brain’s ability to cope with significant and disturbing events depends largely on the family of origin, exposures to previous traumas, mental disorder or illness, and how the trauma is dealt with.”

Natural Disasters Can Cause PTSD

 

 

The devastation that the past hurricanes have caused the American people has undoubtedly resulted in mental and emotional harm in the aftermath. Though there are ways that help us detect their coming, we have never been too expectant and ready for them, and their wrath has always left us with feelings of shock and fear. People are left with almost nothing but themselves – if the whole family survives, that is. They’ve lost their homes, their cars, and their jobs.

Most of these victims are also suffering from mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder, a condition where individuals develop fears after witnessing traumatic events such as natural disasters. They often have nightmares and flashbacks that impede their daily activities at times. They have difficulty sleeping for fear that when they wake up, the horror of the past experience will haunt them again.

Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo, a clinical psychologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, did a study with other experts on the effect that Hurrican Maria had on the young and old alike. She reported that the devastation caused by the disaster resulted in about 20% of the youth manifesting symptoms of PTSD. “Although the level of PTSD symptoms reported in the study is lower than what was expected, some studies show up to a third of children will develop chronic symptoms after surviving a natural disaster.”

 

Hurricane Katrina

 

 

Cassie, 45, a survivor of the wrath of Katrina, recalled being literally alone, and she says the water was up to her chin. Her kids had gone out when the hurricane came, and she couldn’t move, didn’t know what to do.

“I saw people dropping dead, people getting beat up. I saw it all. I saw it all. Now, I don’t want to be left alone in the house. Wherever my daughter goes, I go.”

The fear of being left by yourself is one of the most common manifestations of PTSD. Researchers say that better support and management for these survivors can help prevent the incidence of people suffering from too much emotional damage.

Dr. Christina Biedermann, PsyD, describes PTSD as the body’s physical and emotional reaction to severe stress. “Stress is triggered by a life-threatening event, either a single incident, such as a car accident, or chronic trauma, such as military combat, abuse or chaotic relationships.”

Hurricane Sandy

Ken Turner couldn’t move when he saw water rushing into his home. He saw water everywhere – in his neighbor’s home and in everyone’s homes. It shocked him, leaving him psychologically challenged and speechless in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder got me,” he often says. “I’m suffering from it. I see a psychiatrist every month for it. I had to get help.”

PTSD from Natural Disasters – It Is Real

The effects of natural disasters in the mental and emotional state of survivors may not be very visible the way the hurricane has visibly destroyed homes and livelihoods and lives, but it is truly real. People suffer too much and they feel too much sadness and fear that most of them are still carrying that fear with them despite the fact that they have survived and lived again.

Like Turner, many more survivors have PTSD and are living with it, and probably will for the rest of their lives. They are regularly being treated with therapy and medications. But healing is possible through time. They just need all the support they can get from others, and of course from themselves too.

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War Veterans: Depression, PTSD And Suicide

 

Based on statistics, at least one US military veteran kills himself every 72 minutes. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that in the year 2014, approximately 20 veterans committed suicide each day. These are the latest statistics available on the matter. PTSD and depression are some of the possible causes of this high suicide number, which is why companies like BetterHelp.com have put a lot of resources into educating people about the importance and seriousness of depression.

According to April Lyons, LPC, “Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic experience can be difficult to handle. This is true, whether you are dealing with a big trauma or complex trauma. A big trauma is a single traumatic event such as war, a natural disaster, a crash, death of a loved one, rape, etc. Complex trauma is an accumulation of trauma within the context of family and other intimate relationships that happen repetitively over time.”

David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, told The Hill (a political website in the US) that this is an unacceptable number. He said that in order to cater to the problem, they are evaluating the factors and are looking into more researches and new treatments and therapies.

 

Defense Suicide Prevention Office shows the suicide report for the first quarter of 2017.

 

  • 31 National Guard Suicides
  • 20 Reserves Suicides
  • 71 Active Duty Suicides

Providing Care For PTSD

Source: anxiety.org

Sexual and physical abuse, violence or any stressful and frightening experiences are just some of the most common causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are experiences you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy. And because these are so traumatizing it leaves a huge scar into people’s lives affecting their lives, haunting them like a very bad nightmare. If you are someone who is caring for someone who is suffering from PTSD, here are some helpful guidelines to remember when caring and supporting them.