Many people may think they have anxiety because they suffer from social anxiety, or they have difficulty making quick decisions or any decision at all. Or some may feel as though they seem to be functioning in “survival mode” in order to just get through the day. While it may be determined that they do have anxiety, in some instances, they may actually be suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as one or more co-occurring disorders.
It has been estimated that almost 8% of Americans will suffer from PTSD symptoms at some point during their life. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, with the numbers 10.4% and 5% respectively. Approximately 3.6%, or 5.2 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during the course of a given year.
Three different kinds of symptoms are experienced with PTSD:
- First set of symptoms involve reliving the trauma in some way
- Second set of symptoms occur when you purposefully stay away from places or people that remind you of the trauma; you become isolated from other people or feel numb
- The third set of symptoms include feeling irritable, startling easily, or feeling on guard
Examples of PTSD Symptoms
While there are numerous symptoms reported with PTSD, following are some of the more commonly reported issues:
- Loss of confidence in trusting your own instincts
- Social anxiety
- Difficulty at times separating reality from imagination
- Waking up frequently at night; having a “fitful” sleep
- Finding yourself flip-flopping on making a decision
- Difficulty with short term memory retention
- Finding it difficult to focus on a task, conversation, idea; difficulty with following through to the end of a thought process
- Physical or mental lethargy
- Feeling hopelessness, despair, or depression
- Becoming exhausted after even small tasks; simple things become “just too hard to do”
- Making poor life choices where you feel shame instead of making choices to change the situation to the positive
- Confusion as to why you feel in a “fog” or feel “shell-shocked” by life in general
- Exhibiting addictive behaviors as a means of escape
Co-Occurring Conditions with PTSD
Those that suffer from PTSD are also commonly diagnosed with other disorders such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, difficulties with memory or cognition, as well as other problems with mental health or physiological changes. The disorder itself is associated with impairment of the ability to function in social or family life – it is common to see problems with relationships, family discord, difficulties in parenting, and job instability.
For men, more than half with PTSD also have problems with alcohol; the most common co-occurring issues for men in order are depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse.
For women, just under half of those with PTSD experience depression; the next most common co-occurring mental health issues are specific fears, anxiety, problems related to alcohol.
PTSD Psychiatric Care
PTSD is not just a “veteran’s ailment.” PTSD can occur across every socio-economic status and life stage. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment at one of his convenient weekend and weeknight office hours for a comprehensive evaluation that addresses your primary and co-occurring issues.