Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental and emotional issue that can be the impetus for substance abuse and other damaging behaviors. If you experience problematic symptoms after enduring a natural disaster, you may be suffering from PTSD, which will take therapy to handle.
Recent Natural Disasters and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
People can experience symptoms of PTSD even if the event did not happen to them. However, the severity of symptoms does increase based on the proximity: the nearer physically or emotionally one is to a devastating event, the more affected he may be.
Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
For people who experience a traumatic event, such as losing their home in a tornado or flood, they may go through phases similar to those associated with grief. This cycle starts with feelings of intense arousal that may include any of the following problems:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Exaggerated response to startling events
- Excessive awareness (hyper-vigilance)
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Sleeping difficulties
In an effort to distance themselves, relieve some of these intense emotions and to evade some of the reactive behaviors, people may then enter a stage of avoidance during which they may experience any of the following issues:
- Emotional numbing, or apathy
- Feelings of detachment
- Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Less expression of moods
- Avoiding places, people or objects that remind you of the traumatic event
- Sense of having no future
Even if a person continues to heal from PTSD, she may repeatedly relive the event in her head so much so that it interferes with her daily life. Symptoms of reliving trauma can include the following:
- Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
- Recurrent distressing memories of the event
- Repeated dreams of the event
- Physical reactions to situations that remind you of the traumatic event
If you experience any of these problems, consider the likelihood that you are dealing with PTSD.
What Is Survivor’s Guilt?
Some people experience debilitating symptoms if they survived a traumatic event while others did not. This is called survivor’s guilt and is often accompanied by anxiety, stress and tension. Additionally, one with survivor’s guilt may also exude the following symptoms:
- Agitation or excitability
Survivor’s guilt can be just as problematic as PTSD, so do not hesitate to seek help for this issue.
Additional Risks of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Struggling with PTSD puts people at risk for negative behaviors that medicate their symptoms. Many people suffering from PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol as a temporary fix for these harmful emotions and destructive behaviors. However, by doing so they only compile their problems.
This may result in a co-occurring condition of substance abuse and a mental health disorder.
Help Recovering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, get advice about the most appropriate treatment options available. While recovery from abuse and mental health issues is difficult, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today at (877) 345-1887. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatment for PTSD. We are here to help.