Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a medical condition that may occur after experiencing a shocking, frightening or dangerous event.
Anyone who experiences an unpleasant situation can have PTSD, but women, combat veterans, shooting victims, and even burned-out health care workers are more likely to suffer from it.
The U.S. Senate designated June 27th as the National PTSD Awareness Day. The Senate officially marked this day in 2010. Then in 2014, the entire June was designated as PTSD awareness month. This milestone marked a before and after of the PTSD perception.
Today, many organizations, companies, and facilities strive to reach out to the public with information about clinical signs, symptoms, and treatments. The more people access information, the more people will ask for help without feeling confused or ashamed.
PSTD is a mental disorder that occurs after a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. Many people experience symptoms of PTSD and do not know it, interfering with their lives, social relationships or even job tasks.
How to identify PTSD symptoms?
PTSD symptoms must last for more than one month and interfere with daily life, such as reliving memories while working or during social meetings.
The symptoms are classified separately to understand them better, but they usually arise simultaneously.
- Symptoms of intrusive memories
- Avoidance symptoms
- Hypervigilance and reactivity symptoms
- Cognitive and mood symptoms
Symptoms of intrusive memories are constant reminders or mentally reliving the traumatic event over and over again, even with physical symptoms such as heart palpitations or sweating.
Avoidance symptoms include not wanting to attend places reminiscent of the experience or avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event.
Symptoms of hypervigilance and reactivity are becoming distressed, being startled or feeling tense frequently, not concentrating, having trouble sleeping, outbursts, and irritating, impulsive, or destructive behaviors.
Cognitive and mood symptoms include experiencing problems remembering details of the traumatic experience, having negative thoughts about oneself, feeling anger, guilt, shame, having distorted beliefs about the event, losing interest in previously pleasurable activities, feeling isolated, lonely, as well as having trouble feeling positive emotions such as happiness or excitement.
At first glance, these symptoms may be mistaken for anxiety or depression. However, the truth is that these disorders often coexist in the same person.
Who can suffer from PTSD?
Those who experience physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, a catastrophe, terrorist attack, a shooting or other serious events may be more likely to suffer from it. Still, anyone can experience it, even if they are not the harmed ones.
PTSD is considered one of the “mark wounds” of combat veterans in our country; 1-20 out of every 100 veterans experience PTSD. For many of them, memories of their wartime experiences can still linger long after they have served in combat.
Since not all people with PTSD have experienced a dangerous event, health care personnel, nurses and physicians are also highly likely to suffer from PTSD when a patient experiences a diagnosis or traumatic situation.
For example, many health care workers suffered from the consequences of isolation, social restrictions and mass deaths with the current pandemic.
Approximately three in ten survivors of coronavirus infection, two in ten health care workers, and one in ten individuals in the general population have a diagnosis of PTSD or PTSD-related symptoms during or after COVID-19 outbreaks.
PTSD in children and adolescents
PTSD is not a distinctly adult condition; it can also affect children and express itself differently. An example of this is what happened in 2001 in San Diego’s East County.
Children and adolescents who experienced the shooting on March 5th of that year had nightmares about the experience, illusions and imagery associated with the fear of acts of violence in public places, and intense anxiety shown in uncontrollable crying, associated with the memorials for the slain students.
A kid with PTSD may wet the bed from nightmares, cry uncontrollably, recall the traumatic experience while playing or alone, have destructive and disrespectful behavior, or develop unusual dependence on their parents or other adults.
Children and adolescents are very vulnerable to situations, and even more so when they are traumatizing. Therefore, post-event factors play an essential role in determining whether a child develops PTSD after exposure to a traumatic event.
Physicians must assess these factors to detect those most vulnerable and target treatment efforts accordingly.
PTSD is not only a mental condition; it is more than that. PTSD is the expression of a person’s trauma and vivid experiences of a lifetime. At MedProStaffing, we honor PTSD Awareness Day by spreading the word and leaving the stigma behind.
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