PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a severe incapacitating condition that mainly manifests itself in crippling anxiety, depression, fits of anger and irritability, sleep disorders, and psychosomatic pain. As is implied by its name, it appears in people who have suffered severe trauma — the most common group are veteran soldiers who have been in active combat. However, there are probably many more people with PTSD around you than you may think — there are no telltale signs that one has it, and its sufferers usually don’t advertise their condition. That’s why knowing more about PTSD is probably more important than you imagine, especially if someone close to you is suffering from it.
1. Not every traumatic event causes PTSD.
Having undergone a traumatic experience doesn’t equal having PTSD. Different people react to trauma differently, and different experiences cause trauma of different intensity. It’s no use telling a person with PTSD to just get over it just like somebody else did. PTSD is a much more visceral experience than just tragic memories — it hijacks one’s body chemistry which makes controlling its symptoms all the more difficult.
2. Cannabis is a viable treatment.
Medical marijuana is just one of numerous treatment methods of PTSD. Others include anti-depressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, sleeping pills, narcotic pain medication, beta-blockers, and many others. The range of medications alone suggests that PTSD isn’t a very well understood syndrome and the medications are mostly chosen on a hit-and-miss basis. Latest studies, however, show that cannabis is quite promising when compared to the majority of conventional methods. It is hard to say to what degree it can improve PTSD symptoms, but it is more likely to do so, and less likely to worsen them. That is why those suffering from PTSD can do themselves a world of good by finding marijuana dispensaries in their localities.
3. Social support is as important as medication.
If not more. Social support plays crucial role in prevention of PTSD development after trauma and can considerably alleviate its symptoms once it is developed. It doesn’t matter how old the trauma is — it is of course always better to get help early on, but it is never too late.
4. PTSD has a wide range of symptoms.
PTSD is not homogenous, and different persons may develop different symptoms. There are four major types of them:
- Re-experiencing (reliving the event, flashbacks, nightmares)
- Avoiding situations that remind of the traumatic event (sometimes people with PTSD tend to even avoid talking or thinking about things, people and situations that remind them of traumatic experience)
- Hyperarousal (nervousness, alertness and feeling that one should be always on the lookout for danger, difficulty concentrating)
- Changes in beliefs and feelings (people with PTSD often feel fear, shame, guilt and hopelessness, lose interest in their favorite activities).
5. Full recovery is possible.
Given proper treatment and support, many people are capable of fully recovering from PTSD. It needn’t be something that affects their entire lives. Of course, it is better to start early, but even advanced cases can be treated. And it is better to do so, especially because of this next point.
6. Left unattended, PTSD has a tendency to spread.
Neglected cases tend to completely hijack a person’s personality and subject them to never-ending cycles of reliving the traumatic event and entering downward spiral. People with PTSD have much greater risks of substance use disorders, suicide, and numerous health problems not seemingly connected with PTSD. They have trouble adjusting to everyday life and communicating with other people — all the same desperately needing their support.
We hope this article will help you understand people with PTSD a little bit better. Remember: if you suffer from it, getting help is not the sign of weakness. And if you know somebody with PTSD, you shouldn’t be discouraged and try to help them nonetheless.