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Recognizing PTSD Early

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It’s estimated that at least 5.2 million Americans are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) every year. While it was once considered a mental health problem that only war veterans could develop, today, the medical field recognizes that many people experience the kinds of traumatic events that can leave long-lasting emotional scars. You don’t have to let PTSD symptoms control your life. Call Liberty Bay Recovery Center (855) 607-8758 to learn how a PTSD treatment program can help.

The Risk Factors for PTSD

Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Most people won’t. Anyone can develop the disorder at any age. However, surviving a shocking or dangerous event is the number-one risk factor.

Some of the most common groups who suffer or are more likely to have PTSD are survivors of accidents or natural disasters, physical or sexual assault survivors, rescue workers, war veterans, and civilian survivors of war.

Some people develop PTSD related to incidents that happen to other people. The unexpected death of a loved one or having a loved one go through a traumatic experience can also cause PTSD. Women are at higher risk than men, and genetics may also play a role.

Other factors that increase your chances of having PTSD include:

  • Childhood trauma
  • Seeing a dead body or seeing someone else get hurt
  • Living through a dangerous event
  • Being in a situation where you feel extreme fear and helplessness
  • A history of substance use disorder or mental illness
  • Having no support after experiencing a traumatic event
  • Extra stress, such as the loss of a loved one after the traumatic event

If you realize you are at a higher risk for PTSD, it is especially important to understand the early warning signs. Recognizing PTSD as soon as possible can help prevent symptoms from becoming severe.

Recognizing PTSD Early Warning Signs

A doctor who is experienced in treating mental illness is the best resource for receiving a proper diagnosis. Adults must meet specific criteria that include having at least one symptom from each category per month. The categories of symptoms are:

  • Re-Experiencing – Flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts
  • Avoidance – Avoiding places, people, events, or feelings that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Arousal and Reactivity – Being easily startled, feeling on edge, quick to anger, changes in sleep habits
  • Cognition and Mood – Negative thoughts about yourself, loss of interest in hobbies, feelings of guilt and blame, difficulty remembering the traumatic event correctly

PTSD symptoms can become more severe with time, and new ones can develop if left untreated.

Trauma Therapy: Healing from Trauma that Causes PTSD

Trauma therapy is one tool for addressing PTSD symptoms once they’ve occurred and preemptively stopping the development of PTSD. In most cases, treatment cannot happen until a client is experiencing problems adjusting after a traumatic event.

Unfortunately, many people turn to alcohol or substance use when the early signs of PTSD first appear. They may not understand that what they’re experiencing is a mental health issue they can treat. Instead, they seek to numb their uncomfortable feelings by self-medicating.

Trauma-informed therapy may involve both psychotherapy and medication. Certain medications are effective for relieving PTSD symptoms, and psychotherapy can assist in healing from trauma. Without healing, symptoms will continue and can only be managed.

Trauma-Informed Therapy at Liberty Bay Recovery Center

There is help for PTSD. No matter how traumatic the triggering event was or how long you have been suffering from the symptoms of PTSD, trauma therapy can improve your symptoms. If you recognize the early warning signs of PTSD in yourself or someone you love, call Liberty Bay Recovery Center today at (855) 607-8758 and start healing now.

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