Putting Your Family at Risk Because of Untreated PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder caused by exposure to a preceding traumatic event. PTSD can affect anyone no matter the race, sex or age of a person. Common traumatic events or experiences that may trigger PTSD can include the following:

  • Military combat experience
  • Natural disasters
  • Violent crimes
  • Physical abuse
  • Rape
  • Unexpected accidents
  • Witnessing a death
  • Childhood neglect
  • Experiencing a traumatic event on the job

Signs and Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

People diagnosed with PTSD will experience a wide array of negative effects. The symptoms of PTSD cause physical, mental and emotional pain that can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Flashbacks that involve acting or feeling like the event is reoccurring
  • Upsetting memories
  • Intense nightmares
  • Insomnia or difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Hallucinations
  • Physical reactions to reminders of the event such as heart racing, rapid breathing, nausea, sweating, muscle tension or headache
  • Loss of interest in activities and life itself
  • Isolation from others
  • Avoiding activities, people, places, thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma
  • Feeling paranoid or hypervigilant
  • Feeling irritable or showing outbursts of anger
  • Feeling depressed, hopeless, alone or guilty
  • Having suicidal thoughts or feelings

Dangers of Untreated Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

If left untreated, the effects of PTSD can lead to the following:

  • Drug abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Relationship problems
  • Job loss
  • Other psychiatric disorders
  • Self-destructive acts or suicide attempts

The effects of PTSD can cause a person to put him or herself in danger or to endanger others such as family members. Untreated PTSD can cause permanent damage to the brain due to the person living in a hyper-aroused state. Patients with PTSD may have a co-occurring mental health issue such as one of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Phobias

Misdiagnosed or untreated PTSD is commonly associated with substance abuse. Drugs or alcohol can act as a coping mechanism, provide a temporary escape or chance to get away or relieve physical and psychological pain. The misuse of alcohol or drugs can lead to a number of other complications in a life already complicated by PTSD. Alcohol and drug use only serve as a temporary solution. Once the substance wears off, a person will be in the same position or a worse one than before.

How Untreated PTSD Affects Family Members and Others

Those who do not find treatment for PTSD allow their condition to get worse. The effects will increase until the victim no longer has control or can manage. When a person loses control to PTSD, every aspect of his or her life is affected. Individuals struggling with untreated PTSD are unable to control their thoughts, actions and behavior. It is heartbreaking for family members and friends to watch their loved one struggle, and these innocent bystanders can also be put in harm’s way due to the dangerous effects of the disorder. PTSD can lead to acts of violence, aggression and arguments, and these problems only escalate when drugs or alcohol are involved.

End the Risks Associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Professional treatment will help put an end to the many risks of untreated PTSD. It can help sufferers find true peace and healing at last. To learn more about treatment for PTSD, treatment for families dealing with PTSD and treatment for people dealing with co-occurring disorders please call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day to assist you in finding the quality treatment programs that will work for you or your loved one. Call to learn more today.