After airing my podcast reading of a previous post about PTSD I was asked to gather and provide more information about PTSD symptoms and support organizations. I’ve thought long and hard about how best to cover this information. After all, people who are suffering from PTSD need professional help. Self-diagnosis isn’t reliable and it’s difficult to comprehensively describe any medical issue, much less a mental health issue, on a website with such a broad international audience. The approach I’ve decided upon is to aggregate the information as concisely as possible. I strongly advise anyone who believes they might have PTSD to seek the assistance of a therapist who has experience treating someone with PTSD.
If you are in need of immediate assistance call 911 or go to an emergency room. This post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical care.
What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD? The information below is sourced from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website.
- Intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event
- Nightmares, sleep disruption, or insomnia
- Reliving the event through flashbacks
- Feelings of detachment or inability to connect with loved ones
- Depression, hopelessness, irritability, or outbursts of anger
- Hypersensitivity or hypervigilance
- Guilt caused by false belief you’re at fault for what happened
A major point of difficulty when trying to determine if you have PTSD on your own is that you can’t always see some of these signs and symptoms yourself. If you’ve been approached by trusted loved ones about seeing someone for depression or angry outbursts that could be a sign you’re suffering from number five. Additionally, if you’re frequently told, “it wasn’t your fault,” that may be a sign you’re expressing a lot of guilty feelings about events outside of your control. You might consider the possibility you suffer from number eight.
How many of these listed symptoms do you need to have to be suffering from PTSD? Frankly, one is enough. It’s so difficult to self-diagnose this issue. If a bad event has happened in your life and it’s caused drastic changes in how you act and treat others it’s worth considering seeing a trained therapist even if you’re not sure you have PTSD specifically. Unfortunately, the cost of getting the right care can be a burden in many places. Not everyone can rush off to see a professional. Fortunately, there’s still support out there.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a resource page for the general public and their family and friends. The website includes detailed instructions for finding a therapist and includes things to take into consideration when looking for care. If you have a family doctor and don’t know where to start, begin your journey there. If you can’t afford a doctor’s assistance or prefer peer support, support groups are available for PTSD sufferers. I looked through the three websites the VA provides on their website that can help you find a local support group. I found Sidran Institute’s Help Desk to be clear and easy to understand.
Talking to family and friends can be helpful. Unfortunately, they don’t always know what to say or how to help. Support groups and medical professionals are your best bet at getting the help you need without accidentally damaging your relationships. Family and friends love you and want to help, they just don’t know how.
This is a lot of information, and there’s no expectation you’ll remember it all. Bookmark this one and come back to it later if you don’t have the time or patience to deal with the situation right now. It’ll be here when you get back. I regularly check links as best I can to ensure they’re still functioning. If at any point you find a link that no longer works, please post a comment and let me know. I’ll fix it as soon as I can.