Myths and Facts About PTSD

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Myths and Facts About PTSD

If Hollywood is to be believed, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that causes veterans of combat to act erratically and violently. There’s a lot wrong with this description, and we want to shed some light on this often misunderstood mental health issue.

As experts in mental health, the dedicated and compassionate team at Live Life Wellness Clinic in Houston, Texas, has extensive experience helping our patients overcome PTSD and the effects of trauma. 

A great first step in treating PTSD is understanding the complexities of this disorder, which is why we’re taking a look at a few myths and facts here.

Myth: PTSD is a result of war

Let’s get to one of the first misconceptions about PTSD, which is that it’s solely a result of being involved in combat. That’s not accurate.

At its core, PTSD is a condition in which a person doesn’t properly process exposure to trauma, and this trauma can stem from:

  • Witnessing violence
  • Being a victim of violence
  • Perpetrating violence (such as soldiers)
  • Experiencing a traumatic event, such as a car crash or natural disaster
  • Going through a serious illness
  • Experiencing the death of a loved one

At least 70% of adults in the United States experience at least one traumatic event in their lives, leaving them more vulnerable to PTSD.

While soldiers are certainly more at risk for developing PTSD given the violence of their situations, it’s important to note that anyone can develop this mental health issue. And women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Myth: Everyone who’s exposed to trauma gets PTSD

Most people who are exposed to trauma can process the event and move on within a few months. We noted that 70% of people are exposed to trauma, but the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is only 6.8%.

Myth: PTSD always leads to violent behavior

PTSD is an incredibly complex disorder, and no two people display the exact same symptoms, which can include one or more of the following:

  • Intrusion: You experience intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and memories 
  • Avoidance: You stay away from people, places, or things that remind you of the trauma
  • Shifts in mood: You become depressed and numb and have negative feelings about yourself
  • Cognitive issues: You don’t remember certain aspects of the trauma
  • Heightened arousal and reactivity: You become jumpy and irritable, you’re prone to angry outbursts, or you behave recklessly

PTSD can manifest itself in many different ways. While acting out violently is certainly possible, it’s not the norm. Many more people with PTSD turn inward and withdraw.

Fact: Untreated PTSD can lead to other issues

The longer someone struggles with PTSD, the more at risk they are of developing co-occuring issues, such as anxiety, a substance use disorder, or major depressive disorder.

Fact: There’s help for PTSD

This is the most important point we want to make. Help is available for people experiencing PTSD. Through our mental health services, we can help you process and break free from your trauma so you can lead a happier and more productive life.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can call us Monday through Saturday or book an appointment online anytime.