Domestic violence victims, sexual assault victims, combat soldiers, law enforcement officers and various other people who’ve witnessed traumatic events are often diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is considered a serious anxiety disorder with both physical and mental symptoms.
Unfortunately, the legitimacy of PTSD is often questioned, since the disorder is used to describe so many different symptoms and experiences. The physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension or stomach pains, are not usually visible, so victims are often accused of faking it.
Denying that the diagnosis is real usually results in a lack of support and compassion when a person needs it most.
PTSD Is Real
Not every case of PTSD may be legitimate, but the disorder itself is very real.
If you or a loved one has been abused, witnessed an awful tragedy, or went through a life endangering event and are still struggling to cope a month or more afterwards, it is most likely PTSD.
The most common signs that the trauma has resulted in PTSD are flashbacks, severe tension or anxiety. In many cases there is an overwhelming feeling of guilt or blame. It can make everyday life unbearable.
PTSD After Abuse
Physical, mental or sexual abuse victims already struggle with the fear their claims of abuse won’t be believed. They worry people will discredit them and brand them as attention seekers.
Abusers manipulate and degrade their victims to the extent that they doubt themselves and even question their own sanity. Being diagnosed with PTSD only adds to their feelings of being inferior or delusional.
Whether the abuse is physical, mental or sexual, it has a lasting effect on the victim. They carry the torment with them throughout their lives and it affects both their physical and mental health.
It is important to recognize the signs of PTSD and actively work on reducing the anxiety that accompanies it.
Dealing With PTSD
If you or a loved one has endured something traumatic and you’re having trouble adjusting, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
The best advice is to talk to a mental health professional or counselor who has experience dealing with PTSD patients. Talking about the problem is the first step in dealing with it.
A trained therapist helps victims by exploring their feelings and memories of the tragic event in a safe, healthy way. They will also reassure the person that their PTSD is real, they are not imagining the symptoms and they are not responsible for the circumstances that brought it on.
Receiving such reassurances will make it significantly easier to deal with PTSD.
Everyone deals with tragedy differently. An inability to cope after a traumatic event is common and, in many cases, it has a lasting effect. There is no shame in admitting that you’re struggling. It’s always better to address issues concerning your mental health rather than hide them until they grow beyond your control.
PTSD is real and there is help available.
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By Jenn Sadai