Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Military Personnel Are Not the Only Ones Who Get PTSD
Welcome to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Welcome to my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder lens.
Like my bio says, this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder lens came about when I found out that a friend of mine, a retired military person, has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD. While I already knew a bit about this disorder, I wanted to learn more so I could better understand what it entailed and if there are ways that I can help in my dealings with my friend.
While some behaviors are similar among sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder, each person deals differently with what they are trying to cope with. Episodes can be very similar or they can be drastically different each time. While understanding and support is something that all of us can strive for when dealing with someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are also a few tips that we can use to minimize stress with someone who has it.
I placed the definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Wikipedia as the first module to start out this lens. There is also a Guestbook at the very bottom of this lens for those of you who wouldn't mind placing a comment about this subject there.
Please, please, please if you have any other tips or suggestions for any of us to better help those with this disorder, share them in the Guestbook.
How To Contact Me Regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
I may be quickly reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please place the words "PTSD" in the subject line as I do not open emails from addresses I do not recognize.
Causes of PTSD
While the causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, are all very unique to each person, there are events and happenings common to people that can develop this disorder.
Events like bombings or shootings, bad traffic accidents, non-natural deaths, threats to ones life, physical or sexual abuse, and muggings are just a few, however these all qualify as a traumatic event in ones life.
The death of a child in a horrible traffic accident may be the trigger for the PTSD. A person who is targeted for kidnap, a beating, or threatened with loss of life may develop PTSD. Military and law enforcement personnel, hospital trauma staff, and rescue positions like fire/EMT/child services, through their jobs, encounter horrific acts that may weaken or damage their psychological coping skills. It is usually one act that "breaks the camels back", however, it can be multiple acts or events that build upon each other that may harm the psyche.
While PTSD episodes may be very random, there are often "triggers" like loud noises, certain smells, or a specific visual situation that will cause the person with PTSD to "flash back" for a short time. People close to the person with the disorder need to understand that the episode is not just "remembering", but that the person may be reliving a past episode.
Move slowly, speak calmly, and don't touch the person having an episode unless you know what is going on in their mind.
A recently retired military personnel having a nightmare should NEVER be shaken awake. You don't know which battle, which situation his mind is in. Speak calmly from a short distance away to wake them up.
Another example is a child who may have been abused. When they act up or "freeze", touching or hugging them to make them feel better may only make them more frightened or threatened. You don't know where their mind is at the time and they may not realize you are YOU. They may be remembering past abuse and think that you are the abuser in their mind.
Panicking, being loud, moving quickly, and causing a scene will never help people with PTSD. Staying calm, quiet but firm, and moving very slowly, if at all, will help to dismiss you as a threat until the mind figures out where and when it is.
Remind the person who you are, where you are, and what is around you. It may help the person having a flashback to get back to the right time frame quicker.
People who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have already gone through a major negative event or period of time. They need understanding and patience to help them through the maze of confusion they find themselves in. Please help.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Help Aids
PTSD Common Behaviors
A common behavior for PTSD sufferers is needing to get away from others in times of stress. Disappearing from gatherings, seeking certain types of environments like water spots, wide open areas, and "safe" spaces.
Depression is common. Self distrust, fear of certain situations and of losing themselves, bitterness and sometimes self loathing are all feelings that people with PTSD may experience. The uncertainty of never knowing when a flashback may occur or the knowledge that one could occur in the middle of a group of people who may not understand what is going on are negative thoughts that will add stress to an already overburdened person.
They push people away and it may be difficult to keep a healthy relationship with a spouse, family member, or good friend. Pushing people away is a coping mechanism. It's not personal, it's just a way of trying to minimize opportunities in which they may involve others in situations that are fraught with fear and what they perceive as "weakness" in themselves.
Being unable to sleep deeply is another common behavior. The stress and fear of "losing themselves" interfere with sleep patterns and induce insomnia. It doesn't take a very long period of time with no restful sleep before the body ratchets up the stress levels even more. It's a nasty circle that keeps the PTSD sufferer from getting better.
Please share any experiences or thoughts on PTSD with us. If you know someone with PTSD, what helps you deal with it. What tips can you give that might help others deal with their own friends and family who have PTSD.
I hope you will re-visit Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the future.