One of the biggest illnesses inflicted on our veterans is PTSD. This disorder is a type of anxiety that occurs after a specific event or combination of traumatic events. It is very common in people who have a motor vehicle accident, lived through a disaster such as a house fire or earthquake, soldiers involved in war, or people been subjected to violence. This occurs in men and women of all ages. Even children can develop PTSD.
Many patients describe a flashback feeling where they see themselves in that scary event over and over again. People feel helpless and wish they could change the circumstances what happened. People become anxious and have difficulty talking to family, friends, or coworkers about it.
Patients with PTSD have a high rate of suicide and often try to hurt themselves. Many people will develop addictions to drugs or alcohol as a way to forget the pain of the events that they lived through.
However, PTSD can be managed in a step wise fashion to help reduce the severity of symptoms and help people to live quality lives again. This may include a combination of medications, outpatient counseling, group therapy, and coping mechanisms to deal with the violence or emotional feelings that occurred from being in the terrible event. Many churches, mosques, and temples offer training to religious leaders and community members to help identify people who may have PTSD. Teachers, school counselors, and healthcare professionals are also advised to ask questions that may help to identify PTSD in situations where students are performing poorly in class.
There is no way to eliminate all of the negative feelings associated with PTSD. However, PTSD that is not treated results in people developing other problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, losing their jobs, or losing their family members.
Talk with your doctor or school counselor about PTSD and what treatments are available to help improve your symptoms today.
If you have warning signs of suicide, please call 911 or call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255) now. Please remember and take care of our veterans today and always. PTSD is a real disease and should be taken seriously.
-Muhammad Emran MD
West Oaks Urgent Care