PTSD isn’t Just For Army Veterans

12/28/2017 11:17 pm ET

When many people think of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) they often imagine a soldier who has returned from war. This is a valid association since soldiers absolutely can develop PTSD. They are exposed to traumatic events and have possibly watched people die in battle. There are instances where a person goes to war and blocks out their trauma since it was so upsetting. When they return home, they suddenly remember what they saw and start having flashbacks that are related to PTSD.

Thinking about soldiers as people who are diagnosed with PTSD is a legitimate association since many veterans develop PTSD. However, they are not the only people with this disorder; particularly Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD differs from PTSD. PTSD refers to the exposure to one primary traumatic event. Whereas, Complex PTSD of C-PTSD develops when someone is exposed to trauma repeatedly in their lifetime. Some common instances of Complex PTSD occur when someone is a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse. The person was exposed to trauma several times and as a result they have triggers associated with this trauma. This is indicative of Complex PTSD. The treatment for PTSD or Complex PTSD is similar: EMDR or Eye MovementDesensitization and Reprocessing, which helps the survivor of PSTD face their trauma and become desensitized to it.

How do we de-stigmatize PTSD in our society? It’s not just for army soldiers. It’s a disorder that affects 8 percent of America. 70 percent of Americans have experienced trauma in their lives. 20 percent of the 70 percent actually develop formal PTSD. With the PTSD statistics being so high, it’s important that we learn more about this disorder and try to understand how it impacts so many people. It’s likely that you know someone who has PTSD or has experienced significant trauma. People who have been in abusive relationships (either verbal or emotional abuse) can suffer Complex PTSD as well. They often remember multiple instances where they were subject to abuse. They can visualize the abuser and the nature of the abuse they were a victim of. Trauma is painful to relive and it’s something that can ware on a person if they are not actively seeking treatment for their disorder. When you have experienced trauma it’s imperative that you seek help for your painful experiences.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to PTSD is that those living with the disorder have triggers that need to be identified and managed. Triggers bring back memories of the trauma they have experienced and cause the person to relive the traumatic events. Triggers can be discussed and worked on in therapy so that the person can understand them and start to heal. It might take years to work through severely traumatic events, but recovering from Complex PTSD is possible. It takes insight from the person who lived through the trauma, which is cultivated by working with a therapist who specializes in trauma and recovery. You can heal from your trauma if you are ready to face it.

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