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Co-Occurring Disorders with PTSD

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.

PTSD Statistics

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.

PTSD Symptoms

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.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment with Medication after Evaluation

Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is a mental health condition that disrupts a person’s daily routine, relationships with family and friends, and the ability to manage steady employment or attend college. Research data reports that since 9/11 almost 25 million Americans and up to 30% of combat veterans have PTSD.

June is National PTSD Awareness Month

The National Center for PTSD is working to educate and reach out to those suffering from undiagnosed PTSD. Many people view PTSD as a problem for soldiers returning home from combat. However, any traumatic event can trigger post traumatic stress disorder; a fire, robbery, car accident, threat of random violence, a death, or a serious medical diagnosis are a few situations many people face in their lifetime.

While a person may experience varying degrees of reactions to stressors, many do not develop PTSD. Medical professionals do not know why some have PTSD and others do not. Receiving proper evaluation and diagnosis is key to starting on a proven treatment plan for PTSD symptoms.

Three Types of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

PTSD symptoms typically fall into one of three types which are:

  • Intrusive Memories:  Type one includes flashbacks or repeatedly going over the traumatic event in your mind or having unsettling and disturbing dreams about the event.
  • Avoidance and Emotional Numbing:  Type two includes feelings of hopelessness, difficulty with focus and concentration, feeling emotionally numb, avoiding previously enjoyed activities or having difficulty maintaining close personal relationships.
  • Anxiety and Increased Emotional Arousal: Type three of PTSD includes overwhelming guilt or shame, poor sleep patterns, becoming easily irritated or angry, being easily frightened, experiencing auditory or visual hallucinations, or displaying self destructive behavior like drinking, drugs or sexual promiscuity.

PTSD Medications Integral Part of Successful Treatment Plan

Specific medications prescribed by an Atlanta PTSD psychiatrist positively alter PTSD symptoms and manage other aspects such as anxiety, depression, emotional outbursts, insomnia or recurrent nightmares.

Two PTSD medications (SSRI’s), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Zoloft/sertraline and Paxil/paroxetine, work by helping with depression and anxiety as well as raising serotonin levels to achieve an end result of improved feelings of well-being and happiness.

Atlanta Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Psychiatrist

PTSD can be effectively treated and managed following a full evaluation by an expert Atlanta PTSD psychiatrist like Dr. Hege.

The road to effective treatment and recovery from PTSD can begin with a call to schedule an appointment.