Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that’s caused by exposure to a preceding traumatic event. PTSD is no respecter of persons and can affect anyone no matter the race, sex or age. Common traumatic events or experiences that may trigger PTSD can include the following:
- Military combat experience
- Natural disasters
- Violent crimes
- Physical abuse
- 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 downright 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
- Physical reactions to reminders of the event including a racing heart, rapid breathing, nausea, sweating, muscle tension or headache
- Loss of interest in activities and, perhaps, even life itself
- Isolation from others
- Avoiding activities, people, places, thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma
- Feeling paranoid or hyper-vigilant
- Feeling irritable or showing outbursts of anger
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, alone or guilty
- Having suicidal thoughts or feelings
Dangers of Untreated Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Drug abuse
- Relationship problems
- Job loss
- Other psychiatric disorders
- Self-destructive acts or suicide attempts
The effects of PTSD can cause someone to put him/herself in danger or even endanger others including his/her family members. Untreated PTSD can cause permanent damage to the brain due to the person living in a hyper-aroused state.
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.
A thoroughly heartbreaking reality for family members and friends to witness, 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.
Ending the Risks Associated with PTSD
Professional treatment will help put an end to the many risks of untreated PTSD. It can also 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 901-350-4575 to learn more today.