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Mental Health Awareness Week

Health and mental care

Mental Health awareness week

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that develops following a traumatic event and can occur in both veterans and civilians alike.

It is characterized as:

  • The reliving of the traumatic event through persistent thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares.
  • Avoidance of the people, places, activities, or reminders of the traumatic event
  • Hyper state where it is difficult to sleep, difficult to concentrate, you feel on edge and are very easy to anger.

How Can Someone Develop PTSD?

Trauma is trauma. The most notorious cause of PTSD is being in a war, with 10-18% of soldiers likely to develop PTSD due to their experiences. War and combat, however, are not the only cause. Being the victim of a crime or being caught in a dangerous situation can also result in PTSD, with these stressors being the most likely candidate:

  1. Physical Assault and Abuse
  2. Sexual Assault and Abuse
  3. Child Abuse (Physical or Sexual)
  4. Being a First Responder, Firefighter, or Police Officer
  5. Being a Victim of a Violent Crime
  6. Being a Victim of a Traumatic Event
  7. Being in a fire
  8. Being in a mass shooting
  9. Being in an auto accident

The trauma we can experience right here at home cannot be stressed enough. Those who grow up in rough neighborhoods will develop PTSD at rates similar to serving military and veterans. The difference is that they are not being screened for their PTSD.

Currently it is estimated that 7.7 million adults in the US have developed PTSD and make up for 3.5 to 4% of the population.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms are experienced for more than a month. It could occur immediately after a traumatic event or even months to years afterward.

Symptoms vary, with PTSD patients experiencing two or more of the following:

  1. Spontaneous and involuntary intrusion of the distressing memory.
  2. Frequent nightmares about the trauma.
  3. Dissociative events where the victim feels or acts as if the trauma is happening again.
  4. Acute and ongoing distress when faced with something that reminds them of the trauma.
  5. Prevalent negative beliefs that set the world as their enemy.
  6. Ongoing anger, fear, and guilt.
  7. Detachment from loved ones, hobbies, and their old life.
  8. Experiencing aggressive behavior, self-destructive behavior, and hypervigilance
 

What Are the Treatments for PTSD? The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) Injection

The SGB injection is a new PTSD breakthrough injection that has been found to eliminate the symptoms of PTSD almost immediately after the injection is administered. Although the effects of the SGB injection for PTSD vary between individuals, it generally lasts between 6 months to several years. The SGB injection is a local mixture of anesthetic that is injected into a bundle of nerve fibers located in the neck, called the stellate ganglion. The stellate ganglion plays a vital role in the sympathetic nervous system, so when the SGB is injected, it anesthetizes the nerve bundle, decreases levels of adrenaline, and neutralizes the function of the sympathetic nervous system.

Medication

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are often used to treat depression and anxiety and are the main medication treatment for PTSD.

Therapy

Therapy will be the primary treatment. It can work best with medication.

Woman with a sign asking for help

 

1. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) – Helps you control how you perceive your trauma and helps you manage the emotional and mental response you have to your trauma.

2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – Uses bilateral sensory input, or side to side eye movement, to help you better process the trauma.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBD) – Works by helping you identify the patterns in your thoughts that lead to outbursts and give you greater control over them.

Who Do You Turn To?

If you or a loved one experience PTSD symptoms for over a month, and symptoms only persist or get worse, professional help is a must. Contact your doctor or get in touch with a PTSD organization immediately.

 

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

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