Facts about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Choma, when someone goes through or witnesses a traumatic experience - like a really bad accident, witnessing death, violence and serious injury, abuse or rape, they can develop what is known as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Basically Choma, PTSD can develop after someone has a traumatic experience or goes through a scary event that involves physical or emotional harm - whether they experienced harm, were threatened with harm or witnessed harm. People who suffer from PTSD can feel extremely scared, paranoid or helpless because they experience the same fear they felt at the time of the trauma. Some of the symptoms are flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, anxiety, and negative thoughts and feelings. Here are a few more facts about PTSD.
PTSD can affect anyone
PTSD can happen to anyone Choma. If you experience something that’s very intense or have a traumatic experience that is long lasting, then this can possibly lead to PTSD. PTSD is not a sign of weakness and developing PTSD doesn’t mean that you’re not able to handle life.
There are certain traumatic experiences that can lead to PTSD such as sexual assault as well as experiencing stress around the time or after the time you experienced trauma. On the other hand, seeking help from friends, family and professional therapists can help you deal with the traumatic experience, which can help you avoid developing PTSD.
PTSD can affect memory
One of the effects of PTSD is short-term memory loss and this can be known as “dissociative amnesia” (forgetting something for a specific period of time), meaning that the brain will forget some parts of the traumatic event as a way of coping and protecting itself.
The symptoms can interrupt your everyday life
Some of the symptoms that might affect your daily life activities can include: lack of sleep, concentration problems and stress-related physical pain issues, which can make it hard to focus at school or work and also break down your motivation to do well. When you’re struggling to be motivated to do your best, it’s easy to speak and think negatively about yourself, which can result in emotional stress.
Signs of PTSD aren’t always easy to notice
Choma, facing emotions head on can be very tough and because we all have different coping mechanisms (the way you deal with or process tough emotions). A lot of the time, when a victim has a hard time dealing with the memory of the trauma, they will avoid anything that reminds them of the experience, like the place it happened, a clothing item or sometimes even people they associate the experience with. Another way to avoid dealing with the memory is to pretend that one isokay even when they’re not. This is also called “avoidance”.
PTSD can be managed with treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are extremely hard to deal with but they can be managed to help you take back control of your life. It’s important for you to see a mental health practitioner so you can be diagnosed accurately and then start on a path of treatment and healing which might involve talk therapy, medication or even a combination of both- depending on what works best for you.
If you’re suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, you might be feeling alone, scared, confused or like no one will understand. Choma, it’s important to surround yourself with friends and family you can talk to who love and support you and can help you find a mental health provider so you can start the treatment process. It will take time to heal, so patience is key.
Mental Illness, in whatever form, should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know might be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, visit SADAG (The South African Depression Group).
If you need advice or help, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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