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Depression and PTSD Following an Armed Robbery

By July 19, 2019September 21st, 2020Blog

Developing PTSD from robbery, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is common after an armed robbery. It is a sudden, unexpected, and distressing life-threatening event that can severely affect one’s mental health. From a technical standpoint, an armed robbery is typically motivated by the desire to obtain money; however, some armed robbers engage in the crime with the intention of boosting their status within their peer group. Whatever the motivation, the act is classified as a violent crime, because armed robberies can result in injury and sometimes death to victims.

After experiencing a traumatic event such as an armed robbery, a person may experience nausea, dizziness, emotions such as sadness, anger, denial, fear, and shame, difficulty sleeping, changes in sleeping patterns and/or extreme sadness. A person may experience some or all of the listed symptoms, but regardless of how the body responds to a traumatic event, it is important to reach out for help and guidance. Over time, these symptoms can develop into life-altering mental disorders.

Feeling after being robbed is often heavy; people may feel sad as it is a natural part of the human experience or depressed when a loved one passes away or after experiencing a traumatic event such as an armed robbery.  However, these feelings are normally short-lived. When someone experiences persistent and intense feelings of sadness for extended periods of time, they may be suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder, also known as depression, is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. MDD is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States; in the year 2015, nearly 7% of Americans above the age of 18 experienced an episode of MDD.

Some people with MDD never seek treatment. However, most people with the disorder can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapy, and other methods can effectively treat people with MDD and help them manage their symptoms.

There are several symptoms associated with MDD. These symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or irritability nearly every day or most days
  • Loss of interest in most activities they once enjoyed
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Lack of energy or being lethargic
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying, traumatic event. Some of the most common events that result in PTSD are serious accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, armed robberies, war/combat, and assault.

There are many different symptoms someone with PTSD may experience. In order for someone to be diagnosed with PTSD, however, they do not have to experience all of the symptoms on the list. The symptoms include: 

  • Intrusive memories: Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event, reliving the traumatic event (flashbacks), distressing dreams about robbery or nightmares about the traumatic event, severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds the person of the trauma.
  • Avoidance: Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, avoiding people, places, activities, or things that remind the person of the traumatic event.
  • Negative changes in cognitions and mood: Negative thoughts about oneself, other people or the world, hopelessness about the future, memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event, feelings of detachment, lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities, feeling emotionally numb, or difficulty maintaining or creating close relationships.
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions: Being easily startled or frightened, always being on guard, self-destructive behavior, trouble sleeping and/or concentrating, irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviors, or overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame.

PTSD can happen to anyone at any time and currently affects roughly 3.5% of adults in the United States. Also, it is estimated that nearly 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women being twice as likely as men. For people suffering from PTSD, these symptoms cause significant anguish and can prohibit them from continuing to carry out their daily activities.

Many people who are exposed to a traumatic event will experience at least one of the PTSD symptoms. However, for a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms must last for more than a month. Many individuals develop symptoms within the first three months following the trauma, however symptoms can appear even later. Not everyone who experiences or witnesses a trauma will end up with PTSD. It is important to note that PTSD is not a sign of weakness; there is no way to know if a person will or will not experience PTSD symptoms after a trauma.

Early Intervention and Treatment is Critical

Depression and PTS caused by an armed robbery can leave lasting scars that can completely alter a person’s  character and outlook on the world for the rest of their life if left untreated. Seeking treatment can completely turn a person’s life around after a traumatic event, giving them the chance to get back to the life they had before the trauma.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for both PTS and PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Generally, only one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing an individual from enjoying the full life they deserve. The therapy works equally well on bullying victims, combat vets, and others.

Do not let depression and PTSD caused by an armed robbery control your life. There is always hope and someone available to help. Contact ART International Training and Research to learn more about the therapy or to find a therapist near you.