What is PTSD? People who have experienced a traumatic event—war, abuse, sexual trauma, a natural disaster— may have long-lasting symptoms after the event. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be categorized into four major symptoms:
Reliving the event, including an unwanted memory or a flashback where you feel like you’re back in the situation again. Seeing, hearing, or smell can trigger these memories. Nightmares, where you relive part of the experience again, are common, too.
Avoidance. Staying away from situations that remind you of the trauma. To avoid thinking about the trauma, some people pour themselves into work or use substances.
Feeling bad about yourself and the world. This could be feelings of guilt, feelings of mistrust of others, or just not feeling “happy” in general.
Hyperarousal. Feeling sudden rushes of irritability or anger or feeling always on the alert is hyperarousal. Loud noises or a driver cutting in front of you may be all it takes to set you off.
PTSD can get in the way of experiencing life, but there are treatments for PTSD.
According to The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life."
You can start by asking any health care provider—like a primary care doctor—for a PTSD screening. Clinic social workers, like we have through our health center in Laytonville’s behavioral health services, can provide psychotherapy for PTSD. Additionally, psychiatric care and medication management is available through telemedicine at LVHC. 707-984-6131
For more helpful information about PTSD, visit the VA's website.