It can happen after a violent event, a natural disaster, an accident, or after the death of a loved one, Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic event. “Some people if they develop it, it can last for a couple of years, it can last for most of their life, it just really depends,” said Jayme Hodges, director of behavioral health at Lee Health.
Just because a person experiences a traumatic event doesn’t mean they will develop PTSD. “The National Center for PTSD estimates that at least half of the U.S. population will experience at least one traumatic event in their life, but out of that only maybe seven to eight percent of the U.S. population will develop PTSD in their lifetime,” explained Hodges.
PTSD can impact a person’s daily life, relationships, sleep and even cause the person to lash out at others or drink excessively. “It’s very normal to have a response to an event whether it’s intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, excessive fear, worry, anxiety–those feelings are very normal after an event,” said Hodges.
But the intensity and frequency of the emotions can help to determine if the person is at risk for PTSD. “How long has it been occurring, has it been happening for more than a month, more than a couple of months, has it been happening for a couple of years?” said Hodges.
PTSD can also mimic signs of anxiety and depression. If recognized and caught early, health experts say PTSD is treatable and with help the person can get back to a normal life.
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