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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Affects Over Eight Million Americans

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event, such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. PTSD is a real problem and can happen at any age. If you have PTSD, you are not alone. It affects nearly eight million American adults.

For many people, symptoms begin right away after the trauma happens. For others, the symptoms may not begin or may not become a problem until years later.   Symptoms of PTSD may include:

  • Repeatedly thinking about the trauma
  • Being constantly alert on or guard
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea, tightness in the chest
  • Problems of daily living such as problems functioning in your job, at school or in social situations
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship problems
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Recovering from PTSD is an ongoing process and may require professional help such as psychotherapy and medication. But, there are healthy steps you can take to help you recover and stay well. The following steps can help alleviate symptoms:

  • Connect with family and friends. Talking to your friends and family can you get the support you need.
  • This may include listening to soothing music, reading a book, or taking a walk. Deep breathing, yoga, meditation or massage therapy is also helpful.
  • Exercise relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood and sleep, and boosts your energy and strength.
  • Get enough rest. Getting enough sleep helps you cope with your problems better, lowers your risk for illness and helps you recover from the stresses of the day.
  • Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts can be great way to work through issues.
  • Refrain from using Drugs and Alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can make your symptoms worse, delay treatment and recovery, and can cause abuse or addiction problems.
  • Limit Caffeine. In some people, caffeine can trigger anxiety and may also disturb your sleep.
  • Limit TV Watching. It might keep you from falling asleep right away.

If someone in your family has PTSD, it can be a hard time for family members, too. Your loved one with PTSD may have symptoms that interfere with your relationship and change family life. If your loved one has PTSD, you may also be coping with these difficult feelings:

  • Depressed or angry about the changes in family life
  • Fearful if your loved one is angry or abusive.
  • Reluctant to talk about the trauma or avoiding situations that might upset your loved one.
  • Angry or resentful toward your loved one.
  • Tired from sleep problems because of worry, depression, or because of your loved one’s sleep problems.
  • Isolated if your partner refuses to socialize.
  • Emotional distance from your partner.

If PTSD is affecting your family, consider contacting a mental health professional for individual, couples or family counseling. More serious cases may require inpatient hospitalization.

This article is courtesy of
CenterPointe Hospital
4801 Weldon Spring Parkway  |  St. Charles, MO 63304
636-477-2136 Admissions  |  800-345-5407 Toll Free