Please remember that PTSD is REAL illness that needs to be treated. It's not your fault if you have this illness, and you don't have to suffer. Seeking professional help can really make a difference.
Here is some information about PTSD:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
Among those who may experience PTSD are survivors of accidents, rape, physical and sexual abuse, and other crimes. Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Anniversaries of the event can also trigger symptoms. People with PTSD also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. Feelings of intense guilt are also common. Most people with PTSD try to avoid any reminders or thoughts of the ordeal. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms last more than 1 month. Physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal distress, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, or discomfort in other parts of the body are common in people with PTSD. Often, doctors treat these symptoms without being aware that they stem from an anxiety disorder.
Questions and Answers:
1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? PTSD is a real illness. People may get PTSD after living through a terrible and scary experience. It can be treated with medicine and therapy. You can get PTSD after you have been: Raped or sexually abused Hit or harmed by someone in your family A victim of a violent crime In an airplane or car crash In a hurricane, tornado, or fire In a war In an event where you thought you might be killed Or, after you have seen any of these events.
If you have PTSD, you often have nightmares or thoughts about the terrible experience you went through. You try to stay away from anything that reminds you of your frightening experience. You may feel angry and unable to care about or trust other people. You are always on the lookout for danger. You feel very upset when something happens without warning.
2. When does Post-Traumatic Stress start and how long does it last? For most people, PTSD starts within about three months of the terrible event. For some people, signs of PTSD don't show up until years later. PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. Even children can have it. Some people get better within six months, while others may have the illness for much longer.
Am I the only one with this illness? No. You are not alone. In any year, 5.2 million people have PTSD. (USA)
4. What can I do to help myself? Talk to your doctor about the terrible event and your feelings. Tell your doctor if you have scary memories, depression, trouble sleeping, or anger. Tell your doctor if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life. You may want to show your doctor this booklet. It can help you explain how you feel. Ask your doctor for a checkup to make sure you don't have some other illness.
4. What can I do to help myself? (Continued) Ask your doctor if he or she has helped people with PTSD. Special training helps doctors treat people with PTSD. If your doctor doesn't have special training, ask for the name of a doctor or counselor who does.
Get more information. Call 301-443-4513. (USA)
You can feel better.
5. What can a doctor or counselor do to help me? A doctor may give you medicine to help you feel less afraid and tense. But it may take a few weeks for the medicine to work. Talking to a specially trained doctor or counselor helps many people with PTSD. This is called "therapy." Therapy can help you work through your terrible experience.
Here is one person's story: After I was attacked, I felt afraid, depressed, and angry all the time. I couldn't sleep or eat much. Even when I tried to stop thinking about it, I still had awful nightmares and memories. I was confused and didn't know where to go for help. A friend told me to call the doctor. My doctor helped me find a special doctor who knows about PTSD. I had to work hard, but after some helpful medication and therapy, I am starting to feel like myself again. I'm glad I made that first call to my doctor."
Remember - you can get help now: Talk to your doctor about your fears and worries.
For more information about post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders, contact:
National Institute of Mental Health Office of Communications and Public Liaison 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 8184, MSC 9663 Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
This site is offered for support of other survivors, it is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help. I don't have any qualifications or training in therapy, I am by no means a professional. I claim no responsibility for the use of this web site, use of content, or content of any links leading from this site. If you are in a crisis situation I urge you to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.