June is National PTSD Awareness Month. PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health problem that many people develop after a person has been subjected to a life-threatening event. According to the PTSD Foundation of America, almost 10% of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Northeast Georgia Health System wants to be a resource for you.
What causes PTSD?
When an event, or series of events, causes a lot of stress, it is classified as a traumatic event. They are marked by a sense of fear, hopelessness, serious injury, or the threat of severe injury or death which can affect survivors, rescue workers, friends and relatives of victims and others who have been involved.
How Does PTSD begin?
PTSD often does not show up for the first 30 days. PTSD begins as something called “acute stress.” Acute stress develops after a person has gone through an injury or traumatic event. This acute stress be:
- Feeling like one is ‘in a daze’
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Problems with concentration
- Irritable mood
- Distressing memories of the traumatic event
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD is a physical and emotional response to familiar thoughts and feelings of a traumatic event. After the first 30 days, PTSD will often show up as one of the symptoms below. There are three types of PTSD symptoms:
- Re-Living – Flashbacks, nightmares and extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the event
- Avoidance – Fear of activities, places, thoughts or feelings related to the trauma, detachment from others
- Increased Arousal – Feeling overly alert or easily startled, difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, and lack of concentration
Other symptoms linked to PTSD may include:
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Drug abuse
- Feelings of being estranged/isolated
- Inability to complete daily tasks
Where can I get help?
If you, or a family member, believe you have a problem with these acute stress symptoms, you should consult your primary care physician.
To take the next step, call our Behavior Health Access Center at 770-219-6589. Our specialists will help you find the care you need.