PTSD Fact Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions

National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
PTSD Fact Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions

What is PTSD?

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it's been longer than a few months and you're still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.


Who develops PTSD?

PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.


How common is PTSD?

Here are some facts (based on the U.S. population):

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.

Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

Learn more: How Common is PTSD?


What are the symptoms of PTSD?

There are four type of PTSD symptoms: reliving the event (nightmares, flashbacks, or triggers), avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up (hyperarousal). Symptoms may not be exactly the same for everyone. PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.

Learn more: Symptoms of PTSD


What can I do if I think I have PTSD?

The only way to know for sure if you have PTSD is to talk to a mental health care provider. Take the Self-Screen for PTSD (PC-PTSD-5), to learn if your symptoms suggest you should talk to a provider.

Read What Can I Do If I Think I Have PTSD? for more information on how to seek help and why it matters.


Will people with PTSD get better?

"Getting better" means different things for different people. There are many different treatment options for PTSD. For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don't have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.


What treatments are available for PTSD?

There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist.

  • Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most effective treatment for PTSD. There are different types of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:
    • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. Changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
    • Prolonged Exposure (PE) where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. This will help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. You also go to places or do things that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they remind you of the trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.

Medications for PTSD

Medications can be effective too. Some specific SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), which are used for depression, also work for PTSD. These include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine.

IMPORTANT: Benzodiazepines and atypical antipsychotics should generally be avoided for PTSD treatment because they do not treat the core PTSD symptoms and can be addictive.


Who do I contact for help with PTSD? How do I locate specialists or support groups for PTSD?


How can I help a family member who has PTSD?

It is important to learn about PTSD so you can understand why it happened, how it is treated, and what you can do to help. But you also need to take care of yourself. Changes in family life are stressful, and taking care of yourself will make it easier to cope. Learn more: Helping a Family Member Who Has PTSD


As a professional, I need to locate a specific assessment instrument for PTSD. How do I do that?

Proper assessment of trauma exposure and PTSD is best accomplished with validated measures. You will find information and online courses about assessment tools and best practices on the National Center for PTSD website, here: PTSD Information for Professionals: Assessment Overview. There you will find information on a variety of measures assessing trauma and PTSD. These measures are intended for use by qualified mental health professionals and researchers. Measures authored by the National Center for PTSD staff are available as direct downloads or by request. Measures developed outside of the National Center can be requested via contact information available on the information page for the specific measure. See a list of all measures or see Using PILOTS for Assessment Information.

Posted on BrainLine November 28, 2017. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

From the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs. www.ptsd.va.gov.

Comments (142)

I'm a 16 year firefighter in a rough city. I got into this career because my wife became pregnant while we were both going to school. I switched career paths from Botanist to Firefighter. I always had a fear of blood but was able to overcome it after passing out only once on my first day of fire academy.(They showed us a video of the results firefighters not wearing their proper gear in real fires and I had a syncopal episode). The fear drove me to become the best I could be so that knowledge I gained could outweigh my fear of the emergency by being as prepared as possible. I saw many shootings, stabbings, suicides, dead infants. I am currently on 6 blood pressure medicines a day and 2 psych meds. I turn 40 next month. Ive been going through disability and was given a therapist because they couldn't find one thing wrong with my body. I started having chest pain last year and was catheterized and was found to have a clean heart. Going to the therapist has opened up locked doors of demons Ive tried to keep shut for years. Now I can't even work on light duty because I cry when I'm there. They put me in city hall to scan papers and when my Lt came to give me my yearly evaluation today I started having chest pain and a panic attack. I don't know how to handle this and feel like therapy isn't helping.

I understand a bit because I am extremely claustrophobic. It might not be good to expose yourself to blood to much as it might increase your fear. But if you get used to it it might not cause you as much anxiety.

I am currently in counseling for PTSD as a police officer. I have been shot on duty years ago and just now seeking help. My question is should I seek a new counselor? My current counselor who specializes in EMDR said she needs a heads up before I talk about the horrible things I have seen and dealt with on the job. She said she is a trauma victim too, and that I need to remember she is a civilian and I am a police officer. So she said that she is not use to for example seeing people’s heads blow off...... what do I do? Stay and now I feel I have to be more concerned about her trauma?? Or play it out and try in the middle of the EMDR session cognitively try to Remember to prepare herself.... I mean who can I talk to if I can’t talk to my counselor

Anna, your medical well-being in this situation comes first. As a counselor, you are trained to deal with overwhelming/frightening situations such as what you have experienced, but that gives your counselor absolutely no reason to not provide you with the help you are seeking. Don't hesitate to seek out a new medical professional, because you definitely deserve the best for yourself. It is important to note that if you decide to transfer to a different counselor, it will by no means offend your current one. She definitely might work for some people, but as it happens, she doesn't work for you. And that is okay! Just seek out the best help for you, and remember the goal is to heal and be able to live comfortably and peacefully in your community.

I would say switch therapists. It’s hard work for any sort of therapy, and I’ve been through enough therapists to realize that it’s exhausting repeating everything over and over and over. My final therapist was who really got me through, she was a sexual abuse survivor as well, and I truly believe that is what helped me with my breakthrough. Just knowing that she really did understand. I am shocked that your therapist didn’t refer you to someone else. I am not a therapist, but I definitely feel like asking someone to give a heads up on their trauma, is crazy. No one goes into therapy thinking oh well today will be my breakthrough... I don’t even think about therapy until the day of, on the way, much less five days previous. You’re paying her, she should be accommodating you, ESPECIALLY when it’s her job. I’d seek another therapist ASAP. It honestly annoys me that this is happening to you... I’ve been to many therapists... that’s never ever happened.

I have voices and they're really bad right now!

I hope that you have found someone to help you... I just wanted you to know that you are not alone!

When I was a teen I was in a very bad relationship and was beat and my life threatened constantly the mental manipulation had me believe that if I were to leave I would die or someone in my family would. I stayed to protect them and live.
It's been 10 years since this happened and symptoms are starting to reappear over the course of a week...is this too short to say it's a relapse? I'm getting a lot of vivid memories, nightmares and panic attacks daily

Hello there everyone, I’m here seeking some advice. I’ve had a few traumatic experiences in my life that were literally only two to four years ago. I’m a young teenager and I’m going to a psychologist but everything is just messing me up.

I have no idea if I have PTSD, I seem to have a lot of symptoms, but one major thing I do not have is nightmares? I have like 75% of the symptoms but since I don’t get nightmares, it makes me feel like I don’t actually have PTSD.

Some big factors are:

I have this huge rage storming inside me that has made me slam doors and throw small items as hard as I can at walls. It’s made me snap at my really nice friends as well.

I have this horrible pain, yet numbness as well. The pain makes me not want to eat, and I don’t really feel anymore.

I have triggers, every single time someone raises their voice, snaps, seems angry, or makes a loud noise.

I am dissociating. I don’t feel like the world around me is real. Nothing is real. I don’t even recognize myself anymore.

Whenever someon startles me, I hear the noise a lot louder and right next to me and I suddenly feel like I’m in danger.

I scratch myself. Not a lot but probably once a week or two.

There’s lots more, and I can explain in more detail if anyone wants me to, I’m just begging, please, anyone with PTSD, in your own opinion do you think I have it? It’s eating me up and I just can’t wait a few more months :/

Do you have an email address I can contact you on? I've suffered from PTSD since childhood along with other disorders so I've personally experienced a lot of what you described. And although I may not have all or the answers yet, years of therapy and self-healing have truly opened my eyes and taught me so much!

I'm so glad I found your comment cause that's I feel that's me. I'm diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD I begged everyone to fix me or help me... stay strong

PTSD comes in many forms. Some have few symptoms some have more.

Every now and then when I hear loud noises to close to me I'll dive on the ground and reach for my gun that isnt there, havent been out of the houses in over a week now, normally 5+ nightmares a week, cant sleep more than 45 to 60 mins without waking up, short term memory loss, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, afraid to be around another person, outside of being startled loud noises make me sweat profusely and vomit, and few times I wake up to gunshots or mortars and feel like im back overseas.

My friend has been diagnosed and his only issues are people getting to close to him and new or unknown areas give him anxiety, hes easily startled, irritable, loss in interest in daily activities, and hypervigiliance.

Just because he doesnt have as many symptoms or the same symptoms as me doesnt mean he doesnt have PTSD. Everyone is different.

See a psychologist and just talk about what happened. I wouldnt say not to take meds, but CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) helped me a lot. Also, I used to worry whether or not I had PTSD as if once someone told me itd give me closure and help or something. All in all, it doesnt matter. We just have issues and need help every now and then, get a therapist. You'll be fine, I'd say you have PTSD, but im not qualified to make that decision

I suffered some anxiety after being in my car late at night when one of the tires got stuck in a ditch. Was surrounded by some "friendly" locals who intimidated more than threatened. Gave them $50 to help me out and off I went but it triggered some memories of several violent muggings 12 years earlier, an episode where I was locked in a house until I paid to get out and even more relevant an episode where an angry crowd rocked my car with me in it until I could get off a stretch of road work and back onto the main road. I was surprised to have all this come back so strongly because I had not thought about it much at all and if I did I joked about it. But for around three to four months, I felt depressed, irritable and again mostly anxious in a general way. Someone recommended picturing my assailants and then yelling at them to recover some of my "lost control." It enabled me to use some colorful swear words but more important it really did help me regain some confidence and humor about the situation. Not a solution for everyone but I channeled by inner hotel lady from the movie Dragnet and voila kind of enjoyed the experience. Whenever I get those feelings of anxiety, I engage in the same directed swearing.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD from the VA. To make the story short an IED went off next our humvee back in 2006. I was the gunner on that patrol, I remember the shockwave and after that my memory is distorted remembering bits and pieces. That IED was intended for us, to kills us, but it went off too late. Seeing dead mangled children constantly , getting mortared, and taking fire can make even the baddest elite soldier shit their pants, but that IED changed my life forever. It left me in a state of constant shock and edginess and that was back in 2006, its 2019 now! all this bullshit is taking a toll at work now. I'm calling in more, social anxiety is crippling me, no friends, complete reclusiveness, horrible fucking memory, losing keys and wallets.....AT WORK!! mispronouncing words, the list goes on. I'm 34 at the moment but I fear the future. Going to war made me feel invincible at 18. Now I'm like a Guinea pig, mentally scared and experimented on.

I'm so sorry you're experiences have you feeling this way. My PTSD was caused for much different reasons, but the symptoms are the same. It's so challenging lately just to go into the grocery store. Sleep well I get that in increments. I have found that my dog (which I've trained myself for my PTSD), and my horses, animals are a place where I find comfort. Much more predictable. I hope you think about reaching out further, I have myself. Sounds like both of us have gotten "stuck" so to speak. Someone out here hears you, and as hard as it is to feel safe I fully believe that you can do this.

I am married to a marine that is now 54. He was diagnosed with ptsd when he was 19
I can’t stress enough how important to seek help please. Our oldest child is now 28 and she is going to have a meeting with him to talk about addressing it or he will loose his family by default ...The sad part is we still have one more daughter at home that is 15 who doesn’t feel comfortable address the issue but is very affected by it. I have now told my husband I am scared of you and you are the Incredible Hulk. So if you can fast forward and see yourself at that age I promise it doesn’t get better it gets worse. I will pray I don’t know why I signed on to read about this but I was wondering if I was suffering alone and I can’t truly see I’m not.
Prayers

I grew up in a battlezone with my family. The abuse and twisted lies and violence and abuse all my life as a child caused my PTSD, no help from Police in community or Courts or Counselors. I was not allowed to talk of abuse with Mental Health Counselors and with Domestic Violence Counselors was not allowed to talk about PTSD and was told that no one counselor can discuss both. Most counselors terminated sessions when I wanted to discuss Police, stigma and their abuse towards me that happenend over 20 yrs and they refused to take real crime reports from others towards me even with pictures, tape recorded abuse and therefore I have no support system or protection from anyone. I have shared with professionals but repeating abuse stories over and over to counselors with no feedback is Counterproductive while they twist their records and label you pushing more drugs.

I am a Holistic, Wellness RN, BS who had to search and find Holistic ways of healing myself because the doctors, counselors and support groups would not let me share without labeling and traumatizing me further when I shared my stories.

CONNECTION and ACCEPTANCE is what the world is looking for and ability to help others with our stories helps us.

Healing starts with living food in fruits, vegetables and green spring mix salads to fuel our bodies with energy food which helps increase our immune system and give us energy. Flush toxins (alcohol, meat, drugs, (street and prescription) with spring water. Take a high Vitamin B Complex daily. Eat 1-2 salads a day of Spring Mix in Produce Dept, get on a Sleep Cycle for 8 hrs. I use Pillow Spray Eucalyptus on your pillow at night to Sleep, take Vitamin D for bones and sleep, wear waxy earplugs for hypervigilant loud sudden noises to sleep without fear, hot shower, Epsom Salts in Bath Water for Pain.

Tumeric (Indian Spices for inflammation and pain in body/ Put in soups, stir fry, omellettes. All Indian Spices help with inflammation. ex. Curry, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Cilantro.

Journal Events and give facts in writing and write feelings to find your own answers to your issues and mentally remove flashbacks from brain because they are on paper. Join a writing group at Mental Health Association in your area.

Attend a Meetup in your area called VeganMeetup,com (put in google with name of your city) and attend it even if you are not vegan.

EXERCISE IS HUGE AND GOOD HEALTHY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.EXERCISE FORCES YOUR BODY TO GET RID OF STRESS INSTEAD OF STRESS MAKING TOXINS IN YOUR BODY AND STORING IT AND ATTACKING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE. START WITH A ZUMBA CLASS. (LATIN MUSIC AND DANCE AS WE DO STEPS OF TEACHER. ZUMBA IS FUN AND CARDIO AND PEOPLE LOOK FORWARD TO CLASS). CARBON DIOXIDE GETS RELEASED FROM BODY AND EXCHANGES IT FOR OXYGEN. HELPS YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT AND INCREASES IMMUNE SYSTEM.

ALL THESE STEPS HAVE HELPED MY PTSD AND ARE NATURAL HEALERS DEALING WITH PTSD/

I had an abusive step parent who was a police officer. I would be handcuffed to beds and beaten by both parents. I understand the complete and utter aloneness you feel in that. I went to multiple therapy sessions after I was finally placed in foster care at 13. I live daily with spinal damage and the inability to have children of my own. I was 3 when he entered our live, but my mother was abusive to me from birth. What an honor to be the child picked to endure the blunt of the abuse right? I appreciate you advocating the connection and acceptance of yourself. I sadly accepted my abuse, and even had a dream when I was 4, that I chose this life before God put me in my mom's belly, so that my siblings wouldn't have to be hurt so bad. Sad sad stuff. I had to learn to love, protect, and connect with that little girl inside of me that in my dreams was still so brave and even saving me from danger. She was so strong! Makes me sad she had to be that way.

I just wanted to say I am so sorry & how horrendous, you should never have had to endure such cruel abuse. (I was also cruelly abused as a child & my family swept it all under the carpet). You will be in my prayers & I hope that you have or find good friends, I find people that have not been abused or that are not thoughtful & do not have the tools, do not understand ptsd & it can be a very lonely place. But there are better churches these days & some online ones, that are safer & equipped to care - than they used to be. I hope you find a nice one. Much love to you, I know Jesus is amazed by you & holds a special place in heaven for you in his heart.
I hope my words are bring some comfort & that I have said the right things for you, it is hard to know what to say, you did not deserve what you got, may you have much unexpected joy in your life now

With ptsd can I go in the service or no ?

Jasmyn; Read the reasons / causes of PTSD. If you suffer now, I don't think entering the Military would be in your best interest. There are other programs one can do to help others if that is what your looking for. If your looking for a "job" to help other, a Hospital may be one place you will find something to volunteer for and keep your eyes and ears open for positions that might fit you better. Even jobs in the civilian area that you may like, keep looking, find something that you could love to do instead of a job that may cause further pain and trauma to you. Best wishes!

I would not know where to begin because the event that occured my reaction saved my life during this event. I have problems separating types of confrontations I black out. I'm fairly sure this ptsd

I have Complex PTSD, and I have had a change martazpine. I also given chlorpromazine for Flashbacks as I self harmed afterwards. I was given 25mg and still the flashbacks happen. Am I on the wrong dose?

My mother has PTSD and I live with her as I am underaged. She hasn’t done anything to get better and I was wondering if this makes me more likely to get PTSD?

While PTSD is caused by life threatening situations, it is possible to get it without being in one yourself. Some people can be traumatized from simply hearing about what someone with PTSD went through, especially if you're close to them. I think you would know, however, if that was the case. If you're asking if PTSD can be passsd down genetically like anxiety or depression, then the answer is a resounding no.

No. PTSD is a reaction to extreme stress, that causes the victim to be in “fight or flight” mode all the time, after experiencing a high stress incident. It cannot be acquired by simply living with someone with PTSD.

The best thing to do in your situation would be to realize that your mom can and will get better with the right treatment overtime. Love and acceptance are important and can help you all get through this together as a family. Possibly you can do your research and find a better treatment for your mom if she’s not getting better.

Josie, unless you have had a serious traumatic event you will not get PTSD. You can help her by reading about PTSD and it's symptoms. Once you understand what contributed to her PTSD you'll know how to provide care that will help her. Best to you.

Someone very close to me has severe PTSD, and he's constantly taking his guilt out on me, not in a violent manner but treats me like he hates me and gives me the silent treatment constantly.

I know it's not him, it's his disorder compelling him to say such things. What I'd like to know is when he acts like he's mad at me, he's truly mad at himself right?

I apologize in advance, but I have Chronic PTSD and the only reason I react is if there is a threat or the high possibility of a threat. Triggering PTSD is one thing. There are many ways that can happen depending on how one developed PTSD.

Treating you like he hates you, and silent treatment indicates to me a comorbid issue. That's a separate toxic thinking pattern altogether. Has he been drinking or using any mind-altering substances is a question that tugs on my lips with that. Unless you are triggering him.

All in all it is his responsibility to learn his triggers and effectively communicate them with you. PTSD is not an excuse to treat others with disdain. Simply fight or flight. Threat or not. Yes you get irritable, but I believe it would benefit both of you to seek out different treatment options.

One that has helped me is mindfulness it has really developed a much calmer, patient, and understanding of myself (which is where it all starts) and others.

Talk therapy never did anything for me. It took them years to realize I had more going on then just major depression over my past 3 major suicide attempts, because of flashback triggers, and emotional burden that made it very challenging to function. I worked but didn't develop more than professional relationships. I was incapable.

I have isolation periods (which I'm in right now), but that doesn't give me a reason to behave unkindly without a reason, other than I've endured extreme trauma the larger portion of my life.

I'm not sure what your religious stances are but there is a scripture in the New Testament that helps me in those times when I feel irritated and someone is dancing on the trigger line. "Forgive them, father, for they know not what they do." I pray that some of this helps.

To answer your question fully: No he isn't mad at you, he may not even be mad at himself. Depending on what caused his PTSD it may bring up his anger for what someone else has done to him. The guilt and shame is a real deal and I really really hope he learns to love himself better. EMDR has helped me a bit with that. "I love myself, even though I don't do my EMDR, as much as I feel I should."

It takes some time but if he isn't treating you well it's best for him to be encouraged to get help, and if he refuses, maybe it's time to think about separating. Too often people dump their toxic baggage on another, just make sure you heal. No one deserves to walk around on eggshells, and be treated dismissively in a relationship. My heart goes out to you!

I say "forgive themselves, father, for they know not what they
do" all the time, every day

That’s what I what I want to know
Been married 20 years considering divorce. I can’t anymote

There's many reasons for the reaction to come out at you. The biggest thing you need to remember is it's not likely your fault. People tend to hurt the ones they care most about because they know they will still be there for them. Think about it like this a child gets told no and is upset he doesn't say i hate my bike he says i hate you mom or dad. because he reaction even though he knows may hurt your feelings you will still be there for them. it's like that on a bigger scale. Your husband may be suffering with guilt add in the fact that he's up set because he know his actions hurt you so then he gets more angry at himself and acts worse or says worse things. This is a endless cycle with out help. This i know from personal experience i use to deflect my feelings on others then be upset with myself and talk worse to them because i was angry with myself. Try to explain to him it's taking a toll and you would like him to go to counseling. But dont make him feel like he's the issue. say something like babe. i was thinking maybe we could go to counseling together or see separate therapist.. If he wont you still can which will help you with your feelings

Seeking treatment, and being understood, doesn't always happen. I can't explain myself to someone, even a professional, because PTSD makes me easily trigged - 0 to 100 faster than I can blink, and the creature who I become to survive when I'm pushed into that mindset obviously doesn't like me, either, as self-aware I'm "doing it again" and cognitive therapy has taught me about the inner critic is a learned behavior. So it's a struggle.

And so I have questions, having been told by 3 (two were poorly trained..not sure about the last...but she's handling my meds right now) professionals when I have a PTSD moment and break down and cry that "There's no need for crying. Your PTSD isn't as bad as others."

I am very high functioning. Until I am not.
And the last time I was hospitalized, it's because i went into a counselor already triggered, and she said the same thing after only knowing me for 15 minutes. "Your PTSD isnt as bad as others."

...It makes me feel like they're patronizing me. It makes me feel like they think i'm lying about my depression. Until I'm ready to kill myself, no one takes me seriously, and i'm trying to fight this thing!!!

Has anyone else been in this situation? It's not helpful, but the second I feel like I'd say something, they're gonna say it's me, and i'll be back in the same damn position. How do you cope? What would you do?

We all struggle. I'm in tears beause I wouldn't want ANYONE to feel this way. I know the hurt so well, I don't see why, why why "your ptsd isn't as bad as others" has room in a behavioral health situation. Because everyone hurts different, and we can't see how deep it is. Even Autistic Spectrum folks have handicaps, but amazing abilities. Just because you have a pretty face, a strong jaw, a badge, metal of honor, money, people around you doesn't mean you're not struggling to live with Pavalovian Human Condition. Trying to define yourself and bring purpose to your own life isn't easy, even if you are polite and kind to others. I personally can't bring myself to be nasty to someone! I know the other end too well, and I'm trying to forget it!

How do you handle when the professionals try to fit you in a time slot, a diagnosis, or whatever they assume when they look at you? How do you do it?

Hi, (I have ptsd & I think I am in a different country to you) my experience is that you have to 'shop' around, I was encouraged to do this, & I finally found the right fit with a counsellor, (It took a long time) I hope this is an option for you & that you can find the right supportive person.

You do deserve to be supported, I understand what it is like to be highly functioning & doing everything I can to get on top of it.

No one needs extra pressure when they are putting enough on themselves.
Possibly you need to find a counsellor or psychologist that has been through what you have - a good one with a heart that cares for others - that has learned to be present or has the ability to be present for you so you can go to weekly support. I hope this helps. Hang in there, don't give up. Call crisis lines in between bad time slots. Maybe start a support group of other people that are in the same position as you of the same sex. Hugs.

Not all therapists are like that at all. I also made it clear to them that the life choices and decisions I have made due to PTSD just exacerbates the trauma, where I develop expectations of people in s flutter and then get angry at disappointments.

I never had a therapist undermine me to a point where we have a rapport to deep and I bite back and foam at the mouth. I bitch out and stick it right back to him. I explain that I feel threatened and acting defensively. I do it to him to so he gets the point wtf I go through when my PTSD stress has me making awful decisions over forgivable things or risky events I am complicit in.

like, a therapist needs to be reminded how the mental illness and you need to bug out on them the way you do on others or on your own. they get paid for it and you really need to find a way to get that help.

if a therapist can't handle PTSD from outside of my box, his box, and our treatment box, then I have to find one who can. JUST NO THREATS. it's not cool but you need to express what makes you feel threatened. if the mood swing is fierce, train yourself to not make big decisions (moving, spending, drinking, etc), again, therapy. one who can handle trauma.

I know some friends growing up who are now practicing attorneys. They told me that the part about being a lawyer that most don't understand is the screaming cursing, yelling, and total drama-grief that go on behind closed doors with clients, is a shitshow and they need the ability to connect with their target practice/clients. Well, some therapists need to be geared and well versed with PTSD. sharing printings can be topics to address.

I truly believe that if there were some sort of an apocalypse, PTSD patients would struggle the least to survive.

I am so sorry for you.I have been struggling eleven years now.the mental health system is a nightmare within itself.A social worker or msw councelor is not trained to treat us,because they don't know us.They don't live with us,so they don't see our behavior.A psychiatrist is the only one,but a lot of them don't take our insurance,they can give meds,and treatment,but avoidance of triggers with no excuses is all we can do.I try to go to the same places.The medication makes me forgetful,forgiveness does not work,talking about it does not work,selfcaare and firm boundaries work.A church that is quiet works,but I go late and leave early.The constant negative thinking drives me mad.Once the brain is damaged it is damaged.It doesn't matter if yours is worse than others or not,you are an individual.If I hear screaming,yelling,certain words,smells,I react badly.I do not do drugs or alcohol,no criminal background,and cannot be around people that do,plain and simple,for life.I cannot volunteer or micro manage.Sometimes pills make it worse.I listen to wholesome music,and avoid movies the news tv and speaking or sharing when I don't want to.

Your comment is the most amazing testimony! You basically confirmed a lot of what I have been thinking regarding PTSD. It takes a lot of work and self discipline to get better. Not to mention responsibility to yourself. You are amazing. Thank you and the lord keep you safe.

Echo0fVision, I get it. There are very few therapists that are specifically trained in PTSD. Im lucky that I found one who has spent his life pursuing it, reading about it, talking only to PTSD patients. He even readily admits that "these other guys" they just don't get it. He's seen enough of it that he does get it. He's tried some amazing group therapy sessions and it was like catching lightning in a bottle. We all have each other to talk to now, as well as him. I would search for specific therapists that deal with only PTSD, and interview them. Yes, you ask the questions first. See if you click with them. As soon as I met my doc and he said something like "Listen, we're gonna get through this shit together, and it's gonna be shitty, I won't lie." I was like, This is my guy. Good luck, hang in there. Find others and speak to them. new friends with the same problems help a lot. we all understand each other, and we don't judge.

I lucked out as a child and spent 9 months with an amazing counselor, the type you could call at 2 a.m. because the memories were pulling you deeper into "the rabbit hole". He wasn't the type that went by a book, he experienced trauma himself. Prior and after him I found most counselors were not like him and didn't really understand.

My response to anyone who tells someone suffering from PTSD that "your ptsd isn't as bad as others" is that they can not judge that. Every person is different, some people are able to deal with traumatic experiences like they are nothing - others walk away having given up a part of their soul it feels.

I have told many people with ptsd (caused by different kinds of trauma) that I won't hide from what happened. That I refuse to allow the events that happened to me to define me, the past only has the power I want it to have.. In the end we need to remember we are the ones with the power in this moment, we can choose how much power it can retain. We can let the past trauma to break us and never come back from the rabbit hole because we are consumed by the dark - take a breathe - and embrace the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know the pain your in and fully understand your frustration. No one has the right to say my experience wasn't "enough" - I am me - I face my demons - not them. I still have flashbacks, I will always have triggers - but I do try to reduce the control they have over me.

I have completely understood the cost of being with a combat vet. I happen to be a woman who knows and no matter the stress or war your vet and u take on together! (After there return) or like me I chose this man when he felt no woman could love understand or stay because of Tbi and Ptsd. He went in knowing what very well could happen. Spent 10 years homeless denying anything was wrong to much pride as in basic sickness or anything of the sort was weakness and looked down on! He did not want to bring shame to the uniform and what it stands for. But never understood why ppl were afraid of him and family thought he lost it. Only made this wonderful man suffer more not understanding its ok to b hurt in combat. His incredibly intelligent brain lights up like a Christmas tree. But never calling himself a hero only he was proud to serve for his country. I am extremely disappointed in the va for not testing every man that comes home that was bombed or around active fire...burn pits... and so on solders should b treated as gold for putting there life on the line for us the min they step foot .... like a complete medical the spa treatment at the very least! Then should b given a home tax free... no honorable combat vet should ever have to worry about a home!!! Or health care!!! But not 1 man who came back different hurt then lost wife's cuz the woman... could not deal or know what or how to help there man only made it worse for them.... well i see no cowardly vet only a vet left behind and as a civilian I thought there were no vets left behind.???? And there needs to b classes woman take while her soldier is protecting us all so when he returns she knows how 2 help not make it worse for them. But never call these men a coward that only makes you one.

I completely understand what you are saying. I have been with one for 2 years now. I am a military vet myself but did not experience combat at all. I can deal with most of what his PTSD delivers, but there is one thing that constantly harms our relationship. I have discussed it with him numerous times, but it keeps happening. I want to love and trust him, but I am not sure I can. I have taken the time to understand his needs and adapted, and I ask for very little. I don't even get upset with him often at all because I understand what PTSD can do to someone from reading things and talking with him about it in depth, as well as being involved in all his care. I don't want to give up on him at all, but the one thing, the only thing, I have truly asked of him to not do, keeps happening, and I can't take the lies, and since I always end up finding out the truth in bad ways, I lose trust and faith in our relationship. I am sorry, I don't mean to bring drama, we are just at a make or break state and I truly do not want to give up on him. How can I get him to quit denying the things he does when I have told him over and over that if he were honest with me, and open about it, I would be understanding? It's sad that it's so bad in this moment because he has just started seeking out therapy with the VA. I was supposed to go to his next appointment with him, and I still want to, I just don't know if we can be saved. I don't know.

This letter explains so much the way it is for combat vets wives. My husband was I Hamburger Hill in Nam. I have his letters from Nam which explains the trauma he was going thru he received a Bronze star with V device for saving his unit under direct fire . When he came home he was not the same. Never talked about the war and the stuff that he wrote home about. He was so quick to anger. He couldn’t ever rest and had to be doing something all the time non stop. It was as though he hated me he never seemed to want anything to go well for me. I on the other hand knocked myself out everyday to make sure that I did everything in my power to make all things good for him because I knew the consequences and the crazy fits he was capable of. He was extremely jealous of my every move I took more abuse than most women would have ever taken. I loved him but I also hated the way he had become to be. I was always in the middle of him and my kids because I had to be. He passed away just before our 26 wedding anniversary he suffered from a cancer VA Denys for 3.5 years it was a horrible battle and he knew the outcome was death and he would not be there for his four kids and four small grandkids. Myself I blocked the severity I thought he was bigger and tougher than God. I seriously never seen the end coming. I wonder now how could I have blocked that. I am not sorry for the fact that I wanted and made sure he had whatever he wanted and needed in life because that became my way of life to keep peace in our home as stable as I could. The biggest thing that I regret and it haunts me daily is that I truly didn’t understand why he was so radical and why we were living a hate/Love relationship. I now understand the hell he was battling inside of hisself from the conflicts of war and it wasn’t all his fault. He died 22 years ago at the age of 47 battling in my eyes a worse battle than Nam and Hamburger Hill. I regret that I didn’t realize sooner that he suffered deeply from PTSD and it wasn’t him at all doing these horrible things it was the effects of his battles in Vietnam

I know what ur were going through I too went through most of what u went through but I think mines was a little bit worse he was aggressive and physical but I stayed trying to fix him and let him know I was there for him he has been on Prozac for over 22 or 23 years but he wouldn’t go to talk to any one right now he is in Va mental ward I no longer able to care for him he keep wanting to come home but for the last 23 years he has sit in our home only going to get cigarettes and wouldn’t let any in the house to fix or repair anything the house is not fit to live in I have lost my job insurance everything trying to make him ok he is 65 with heart trouble they have him on 5 different high blood pressure medication and 4 different kind of physotic medication but they want give him PTSD compensation to stay there cause he is not 70% I trying to figure out where he will have to go to keep the progress he has made I have been married for 44 years and I can’t take the stress any more I am praying God send me an answer soon cause they want to move him

My question is about chronic pain associated with PTSD. With successful treatment can you ever overcome the chronic pain?
Years ago (30+) I was given a surmise that my outcome for the future was poor. Of course it was in the early years of my pain and I didn’t believe what all the Dr said. I didn’t take to heart her diagnosis. Now of course so many years later I am in total agreement. So I hope there’s good news and with treatment that my prognosis will be good.

I never had problems with VA. They gave me a 100 percent rating less than a year after I got out of the army. I'm just saying that because I don't understand if you have a real claim with VA. They never gave me a problem with my 30 plus conditions but then I lost my memory before and after I joined the army. I didn't remember my family except for my brother and sister, no friends or dad or mom.

Okay, I'm just saying I wish I never developed PTSD and received TBI from the 30 RPG that landed a few feet from me but I didn't care because I was getting meds and many other treatments. Now I'm upset because the VA dropped the previous treatment plans saying meds are bad, get them off. I have a phys degree and I can't research their case studies for the papers way???? VA said I can't have physical therapy because it's not a long-term treatment for pain but they put me on 100 mg of opiates a day no problem. I stop the opiates and I'm not on meds I need to be but most doctors at VA can't give the correct meds or scared of not being employed, so what happened? With VA the government doing their own case studies and not taking others into theirs.

I read your post and I am so sorry. I wish I could help you. I understand what chronic pain is and I also understand what it's like for doctors taking away those painkillers because they're afraid of the government along with the penalties and God knows what else they have threatened doctors with in the civilian sector. I hope you get some kind of answer and help, true help, that will stop your symptoms all together.
I want to thank you for your service to this country as well as to protecting my family in America. I only wish that I could help you as much as you have given this country.
I will never forget your post...

I never had any problems with getting my 100% rating from VA, but I was a MSG Medic, so I knew a little bit about the system. Alot of times what happens is the Soldier who is failing the claim doesn't understand what is needed or fails to provide a complete claim with full explanation.

jamie - sounds pretty horrible what you are going through - i can tell you being off medicine didn't necessarily make me 'better' BUT the medicine wasn't actually getting rid of stuff - just masking it along with giving me unwanted side effects - and i could feel addiction was literally right around the next corner. the ONLY things that seem to help *(not necess cure - i wish!) are getting outdoors in nature, loving my dog, trying to BREATHE - slowly, eating better, no more booze, vitamins and occasionally meditation music with has been shown to change the brain for the better. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. THERE ARE SO MANY WALKING RIGHT BESIDE YOU - EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T SEE US. GOD'S PEACE AND THANK YOU.

I was held hostage with a knife for 12 hrs before being strangled and beaten where I needed surgery for fractures to my face and devastatingly a stroke. I was diagnosed with PTSD 2 yrs later with flashbacks that he was coming back to finish me off. I can’t stand crowds but mostly sirens ambulances police etc. cause me to freeze and burst into tears. I’ve been in EMDR therapy now for one year and I’m starting to recognize my triggers and learn how to deal with them (breathing techniques, taking myself to calm places). I used to be like a cat in headlights whenever someone knocked on my door where I’ve made a few friends that I can trust. He killed himself two yrs ago and it was like he was no longer here but still wouldn’t leave me alone. I would just like to thank my therapist and if you have the chance to have this therapy. I still have my triggers but I’ve got my life back. I would recommend talk processing. It gets easier over time.

i'm sending you a hug that will last for the rest of you life (all i have to give)

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