Myths and Facts about PTSD

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental illness that can develop after a person directly experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. The traumatic event could be war, abuse, violence, witnessing death, a car accident, or something else entirely.

While it’s normal to be scared during and immediately after a traumatic event, most people process their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way once it’s over. People with PTSD, though, continue suffering long after the event is over.

Symptoms of PTSD often include recurring nightmares, extreme stress or agitation, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts about the event. It can be severely debilitating, causing you to withdraw from social activities and daily life, but many people are embarrassed to seek treatment because, like many mental illnesses, there is a stigma attached to it. 

If you think you might have PTSD and you want help, trust Hina Sidhu, MD and our team at Revîv Functional Psychiatry & Functional Wellness. Dr. Sidhu is a PTSD expert and she’s here to help you debunk some of the most common myths about PTSD.

Myth: PTSD only affects military veterans

In the media, PTSD is often portrayed as a disorder that affects only soldiers and military veterans. Some people suffering from PTSD may think they can’t have it because they never served in the military or witnessed war.

Fact: Anyone who experiences a traumatic event can develop PTSD

Military veterans can be and are impacted by PTSD, but serving in the military isn’t the only thing that can trigger PTSD. Anyone of any age who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event is at risk for developing the disorder.

Police officers and first responders who are regularly exposed to violence and death first-hand or indirectly are at high risk for PTSD. Adults, and even children, if they have witnessed a violent event or suffered physical or sexual abuse, may develop it. 

Myth: PTSD always develops shortly after a traumatic incident

Because PTSD is a direct result of experiencing a traumatic incident, some people assume that symptoms of PTSD will develop shortly after that incident. If symptoms appear months or years afterwards, it’s easy to think that they can’t be related because too much time has passed.

Fact: PTSD can develop months or years after a trauma

Symptoms of PTSD usually appear within three months of the traumatic event, but not always. Particularly in the case of childhood abuse, people may have repressed memories that only begin to surface in adulthood as they begin processing what happened years before.

Symptoms can come and go as well. Because timing and symptoms vary dramatically, recognizing and diagnosing PTSD isn’t always a simple task. You need a specialist to help you through it.

Myth: Suffering from PTSD makes you weak

One in 11 Americans will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime, but not every person who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event gets PTSD. Because not everyone develops the disorder, some people think that those who do suffer from it are “too weak” to handle what life throws at them.

Fact: PTSD is a medical condition and it takes strength to seek treatment

PTSD is a serious mental health condition that profoundly affects your life. No one chooses to have PTSD, and having it doesn’t mean you’re “weak” or “too sensitive.” Your brain’s chemistry and neural processing are altered, and so is the way you navigate life. Recognizing that you need help and seeking proper care takes strength; it is not a sign of weakness.

While PTSD can’t be cured, treatment is available to help manage it. Dr. Sidhu works with you to diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. Medication to adjust brain chemistry, often in combination with psychotherapy and mindfulness, can limit symptoms and give you the tools you need to live a happy, productive life.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. If you think you or someone you know might have PTSD, call Revîv Functional Psychiatry & Functional Wellness at 714-699-2194 or schedule a consultation online today.

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