|Home Page||Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)|
following a Natural Disaster
or Other Trauma
An extreme traumatic event is an event that a person may experience, see, or learn about and that causes intense fear, helplessness, and horror.
The event involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threats of harm to oneself or to others.
For example, a person may be:
- Hurt or traumatized by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, flood, or tornado
In some people, an extreme traumatic event may lead to a condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The acute stress of a traumatic event causes chemical reactions in the brain as well as physical symptoms. Some people who experience these symptoms may develop PTSD. Some examples of situations that may be associated with PTSD include:
Two years have passed since a woman lost her home and everything in it during a flash flood. But still she has nightmares about floods, and she has severe problems falling asleep and staying asleep whenever overnight rain is in the weather forecast.
In the past, many people believed that only soldiers or other people who had been in a war could get PTSD. Because of that, years ago, PTSD was commonly called combat fatigue or shell shock. But, based on new research, doctors and other healthcare professionals are learning that all kinds of people from different backgrounds can have traumatic experiences that can and sometimes do lead to PTSD.
Although most people who experience an extreme traumatic event will not develop PTSD, as many as 1 out of 13 Americans will get PTSD at some point during their lives. Slightly more than 1 out of 10 women in the USA will get PTSD. The good news is that, in many cases, PTSD can be treated successfully.
People who have PTSD should know that this is a medical condition, an illness as real as diabetes or arthritis. This condition is not a sign of personal weakness. The symptoms of this condition are not all in your head or imaginary.
A person who has experienced an extreme trauma may be diagnosed with PTSD if he or she has a certain number of symptoms from each of three symptom groups: re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance/numbing, and hyperarousal. These symptoms must last for more than one month and must cause severe problems or distress in personal life, work life, or other important areas of daily living.
1. Re-experiencing one or more of the following:
Symptoms of PTSD usually start to appear within several weeks of the traumatic event. However, some people may not have any symptoms for months or years after the traumatic event.
On the short term, try some of the following practical suggestions to help you feel better after these traumatic events:
talk to people who care about you
Many people with PTSD can benefit from treatment.
Treatments that are often used include medicine, psychotherapy (talk therapy), or a combination of these treatments.
If you are diagnosed with PTSD, your doctor or other healthcare professional may prescribe medicine. If you are given a prescription, take your medicine exactly as directed and do not stop taking it without first talking to your doctor.
Your doctor may also suggest that you see a mental health professional who has experience in treating PTSD. The kind of therapy they provide may help you deal with the traumatic event and its effects on you.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD our brochure "Coping With Trauma" in PDF form.
In PTSD, as with any serious medical condition, it can take time for your symptoms to improve. Getting better can be one of the biggest challenges in a person's life. The road to recovery may not be straight. Instead, getting better may come a little at a time. It is important for people with PTSD to give themselves the time they need to feel better. People with PTSD can recover.
Thanks to Zoloft® and Mental Health Counselor Kris Bertelsen.
|The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County|
301 South Geneva Street, Suite 109
Ithaca, New York 14850
Click Here to send e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Copyright 2013, The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County. All rights reserved.|