Recognizing Early Warning Signs of PTSD
The severity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms can change over time, and therefore, it is important to recognize early warning signs that may indicate symptoms are being triggered or worsening.
Managing the symptoms of PTSD takes a great deal of effort and the regular use of healthy coping skills. Sometimes stressful experiences or changes in mood may make it difficult to manage healthy coping skills. For example, a person with PTSD may notice themselves slipping into the use of avoidance behaviors, such as isolating themselves from loved ones. They may also turn to unhealthy coping strategies, such as substance use, deliberate self-harm, or binge eating. You may notice changes in how they think, their mood, and their behaviors. If you witness any of these things or changes happen, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible. PTSD can spiral out of control if not treated.
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 event. Some of the most common events that result in PTSD are serious accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, armed robberies, war/combat, and assault.
PTSD can happen to anyone at any time and currently affects roughly 3.5% of the population in the United States. Additionally, it is estimated that nearly 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point during their lives, with women being about twice as likely as men. For people suffering from PTSD, these symptoms cause significant anguish and can make it extremely difficult for them to continue to carry out their daily activities.
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:
- Negative changes in thinking and mood: Negative thoughts about yourself, 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; difficulty maintaining or creating close relationships.
- Avoidance: Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event; avoiding people, places, activities or things that are a reminder of the traumatic event.
- Intrusive memories: Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event; reliving the traumatic event (flashbacks); distressing dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event; severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds the individual of their trauma.
- 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; overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame.
Many people who are exposed to a traumatic event will experience at least one of the above 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, and 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
PTSD can leave lasting scars that can completely alter an individual’s character and outlook on the world for the rest of their life if left untreated. Seeking treatment can completely turn one’s life around giving them the chance to get back to their life before their 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. On average, 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 techniques work equally as well on bullying victims, combat veterans, and others.
Do not let PTSD control your life or the lives of the people around you. There is always hope, even when you feel there is none. Contact ART International to learn more about the therapy or to find a therapist near you.