When people hear about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, they envision someone who served in a war zone and had extensive combat experience. They probably believe that anyone who suffers from PTSD is a veteran who comes home and has flashbacks, nightmares and horrible memories they cannot get rid of. However, many different types of events can cause PTSD or PTSD-like symptoms.
PTSD is the result of some type of traumatic event(s) from the person’s past. Not only does it include things that happened in a war zone, it can include such events as an automobile accident, a physical assault, rape or even verbal and emotional abuse. In short, any type of event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope with the situation and the aftermath falls into the PTSD category. Thanks to the endless Hollywood movies and television shows, the typical PTSD sufferer is portrayed by a male, and while there is some truth to that image, PTSD is not limited to men who have served in the military.
According to the American Psychological Association, “women are twice as likely to develop PTSD, experience a longer duration of post traumatic symptoms and display more sensitivity to stimuli that remind them of the trauma.” When PTSD symptoms are left untreated they can have drastic mental health implications, which can also lead to physical health issues, including headaches, stomach problems and sexual dysfunction.
Statistics reveal that women who have suffered a trauma that has led to PTSD are oftentimes reluctant to seek out help from a mental health professional. For some women, years and years go by before they acknowledge what has happened to them and seek professional help. Women with PTSD are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed by health professionals because of a variety of factors, including a lack of training or not spending an appropriate amount of time treating them. That is why it is extremely important to seek out a mental health professional that has extensive training in the treatment of PTSD.
Anyone who has suffered a traumatic event(s) in their past should not be afraid to find the help they need. Many sufferers of PTSD believe they deserve to feel bad because they were responsible for what happened. That type of negative thinking needs to be corrected and with the right type of counseling things can improve.
A trained mental health professional will take into account everything that has happened to the person with PTSD and gently help them recover from the traumatic memories that are consuming their lives. The goal will be to improve the symptoms, restore any self-esteem that has been shattered and to teach coping skills.