What Is PTSD?(Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome)

If you know me well, you have probably heard me mention PTSD a few times. I am kind of passionate about it. Last year I was involved in a fundraiser for PTSD. We collected slightly used shoes that were bought by another charity and sent to foreign countries for further use. The money from the collected shoes went to help people with PTSD. With the help of an amazing CrossFit Box, The Iron Bar, our collection of shoes were outstanding. When I was in the emerald state of Washington and picked up the collection of shoes at the Iron Bar, I literally cried tears of both sadness and joy in that endeavor. That is when I knew my heart was passionate about humans suffering from PTSD. Being involved in raising money for treating people with PTSD taught me that there are ways to treat PTSD outside of medications and counseling. I was fascinated with that idea and it gave me hope for those who suffer knowing there are treatments available and they CAN get better through another type of treatment.

There is definitely a chance you have heard of PTSD. My question is, do you fully know what it means and who it effects? For the most part, I always thought of it as a mental illness that mainly effects women and men who have served in the military. Soon after learning more about it, I realized that there are many reasons why a child or an adult can have PTSD outside of the being exposed to something traumatic in the military. Some likely examples are a person being rapped or maybe a police officer or a fireman witnessing a death or many deaths. I would never downplay the military serviceman, I do know there are many that have PTSD and it makes my heart very sad.

I just did not realize there was so many other people effected by PTSD.

What exactly is PTSD? Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder is a mental disorder that can occur once a person has been exposed to a traumtatic event. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 5.2 million aduts suffering from PTSD. Wow, are you kidding me? That is a huge number of people. Normally after a human is exposed to a life threatening event, a disaster, a accident, etc. it may be hard to return to the feel of normal. Generally after a few weeks or even months, one returns back to the state of feeling normal. If its longer than a few months before one is getting back to feeling normal, there is a good chance one has PTSD. It can also start later on and it can also come and go over time, ugh! PTSD is most common after sexual assault and combat. PTSD can happen to anyone, it is not a sign of weakness. There are factors that can increase a persons chance of getting PTSD, such as being exposed to a traumatic event for long period of time or a very intense event or being injured during the event. Personal factors can also increase the risk of one getting PTSD. Some of those factors are age, previous traumatic exposure and gender. Also what happens after the event can also contribute to the likelihood of PTSD. An example is stress. Social support after a traumatic event can make it less likely.

What are some of the symptoms? Take into consideration that people experience symptoms in their own ways. Flashbacks are common symptoms. Examples of that can range from nightmares, bad memories or it can just feel like one is going through the event again. Another symptom is avoiding situations that may remind us of the memory. Avoiding people or even not talking about it is also avoidance of the memory. The way one feels or believes about themselves or others may change. Sometimes, its a feeling of guilt or shame. Having more negative thoughts and beliefs. Feeling like you don't want to do things you use to enjoy or not feeling happy. Feeling like the world is dangerous and not trusting people are very common symptoms. Feeling super keyed up or jittery. Having trouble concentrating or sleeping are very common as well. There are many more symptoms.

The treatment options vary from medications to psychotherapy in the Western Medicine World. Last year when I was introduced to a Doctor who works with PTSD patients and in her practice she does a treatment called Neurotherapy. This is a type of biofeedback that uses real time displays of brain activity. The brain activity is usually electroencephalography to teach self regulation of brain functions. The success with this type of treatment has been really great and I think more and more of it will be used in the future for many different types of mental disorders, not just the treatment of PTSD. It is very costly and not covered by insurance. This makes it difficult for people to afford the treatment. If you are interested in helping PTSD patients obtain the treatments, you can donate via http://www.homefrontwarriorsproject.org/. Thank you.

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