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FC Home Symptoms & Warning Signs Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) | Print |

Below is information that has been re-printed from WebMD (www.webmd.com) on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  If you are concerned that you, or someone that you know, may have a problem with PTSD, please call the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities at (404) 613-3675.  Our Behavioral Health Access & Information Line is available Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  If you need assistance after those hours, please call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.

WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?

Soldier 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is among only a few mental disorders that are triggered by a disturbing outside event, quite unlike other psychiatric disorders such as depression.  Many people experience individual traumatic events ranging from car and airplane accidents to sexual assault and domestic violence.  Simply put, PTSD is a state in which you cannot stop remembering the incident.

In one out of 10 Americans, the traumatic event causes a cascade of psychological and biological changes known as post traumatic stress disorder.  Wars throughout the ages often triggered what some people used to call "shell shock", in which returning soldiers were unable to adapt to life after war.  It wasn't until the Vietnam War that PTSD was first identified and given this name.  Now mental health professionals can attempt to understand people's response to these traumatic events and help them to recover from the impact of trauma. 

Although the disorder must be diagnosed by a mental health professional, symptoms of PTSD are clearly defined.  To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have been in a situation in which you were afraid for your safety or your life, or you must have experienced something that made you feel fear, helplessness, or horror.  The worse the trauma, the more likely a person will develop PTSD, and the worse the symptoms.  The most severely affected are unable to work, have trouble with relationships, and have great difficulty parenting their children.

SYMPTOMS OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Nervous woman

The main symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, emotional detachment, and jumpiness:

  • Flashbacks - imagine experiencing the most terrifying horror movie you've ever seen playing over and over in your mind.  You can't make the images go away.  These are the flashbacks so commonly associated with PTSD, and usually are thought of in connection with combat veterans at war.
  • Emotional Detachment - this is a second symptom of PTSD, which is often not as obvious outwardly to anyone other than the person experiencing it.  For those people, their emotional systems are in overdrive.  They have a hard time being a loving family member.  They avoid activities, places, and people associated with the traumatic event.  They are simply drained emotionally and have trouble functioning every day.
  • Jumpiness - any sudden noise might startle you, but for someone with PTSD, that noise would make them practically "jump out of their skin" (known as hyperactive startle reflex).   These people might overreact to small things and have difficulty concentrating, which would affect their job performance.  They may always be looking around as if searching their environment for danger.  Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep in this high state of arousal is also a common consequence.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE FOR PTSD

Medical team

According to WebMD, most people bounce back from traumatic events such as car crashes or assaults, including rape.  Short-term, most of us would experience some of the symptoms of PTSD.  But if any symptoms last more than a month and affect job performance or the ability to function in day-to-day life, consult a licensed mental health professional. 

If you are concerned that you, or someone that you know, may have a problem with PTSD, please call the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities at (404) 613-3675.  Our Behavioral Health Access & Information Line is available Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  If you need assistance after those hours, please call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.

 

 

 
 

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