June 28th is PTSD National Awareness Day and a good time to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Therapist Michael Heath joined us to discuss some of the misconceptions that surround this painful emotional disorder. This topic is especially poignant in light of the recent attention child sexual abuse has received from celebrity disclosures and high profile court trials. What is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder is a term used to refer to cluster of emotional and behavioral symptoms which are connected to a severe life trauma, e.g. imminent threat or harm to self or others. Some Common Myths
Myth 1. Everyone who is exposed to serious trauma will develop PTSD.
Fact: Not everyone does. The reason that some folks do and some don't is a very complex interaction of many factors.
Myth 2. Only Soldiers can get PTSD.
Fact: Anyone exposed to severe trauma can develop PTSD symptoms, even children.
Myth 3. People with PTSD are crazy or mentally ill.
Fact: Folks who develop PTSD are normal people who have been exposed to intolerable circumstances which override one's resources to respond reasonably. New studies show that intense trauma rewires the brain's neuro-pathways to respond to the smallest stimulus as though it were a life threatening crisis. How do I know if someone needs professional help?
Here are some things to consider if you're wondering about whether professional help should be sought:
1. Severity of the trauma (duration and intensity)
2. Duration of symptoms.
3. Severity (functional impairment) of symptoms.
4. Unresponsiveness to attempts to alleviate symptoms. For more information visit Michael's website by clicking here.