Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an all too common result of being a service man or woman who has experienced combat. When in combat, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when the danger is over.
Those suffering from PTSD will often re-experience the trauma with “flash-backs.” They may break out with sweating or a racing heart. They may experience bad dreams or nightmares about the event. And they may carry around negative, or even tormenting thoughts about the trauma, or a meaning assigned to the trauma.
Often those suffering from PTSD will become easily startled, jumpy, and get mad easily. Loud noises, bright lights, or even sudden laughter from loved ones can make one react with fear or anger. They might always feel “on edge,” and never be able to relax. And while they long for a good night’s sleep, it rarely comes.
Peace escapes them – and often their families as well.
The recommended treatments for PTSD include a combination of counseling and medications. If a doctor prescribes a medication it will usually be an anti-depressant, which can help for a time with sadness, worry, and the being easily startled. Over the counter products can sometimes be helpful instead of medications.
Counseling can help with feelings of shame or guilt, and to teach ways to relax and control anger. Dr. Cowan can help to provide perspective for both what happened in the past, and what can happen in the future.