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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: How Common is it?

Columbine-Memorial

Research shows that 7% of American adults suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. That’s a respectable number. Compare it to other medical/mental health issues:

1% have Celiac disease

3% have Hepatitis C

2.6% have Bipolar Disorder

30% have High Blood Pressure

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as:

A pathological anxiety that usually occurs after an individual experiences or witnesses severe trauma that constitutes a threat to the physical integrity or life of the individual or of another person.

Per the DSM-5, PTSD is diagnosed if a person exhibits specific behaviors, such as flash-backs of the terrifying event, nightmares, intrusive or disturbing thoughts, avoiding places that bring back bad memories, numb feelings, edginess, restlessness.  It’s normal to experience these after any life-threatening or traumatic event, but with PTSD the feelings and behaviors persist after a reasonable time.

PTSD is mostly seen in war veterans, child abuse victims, and those who have survived awful incidents such as rape, torture, kidnapping, car accidents, plane crashes, bombings, and natural disasters.

You may have it.  A relative might.  Maybe a co-worker or a neighbor does.  Without a doubt you have brushed against someone who suffers from it.  I see patients with it every day as they have turned to self-medication with either drugs or alcohol.

Here’s something to think about – because we don’t know what other folks are going through let’s be generous with consideration. Don’t unnecessarily argue. Be a peaceful driver. Hold a door. Don’t post derogatory comments on someone’s blog. Give the benefit of the doubt. Get to know people.

Harper Lee quote

It sucks when people are mean.  It sucks more to have PTSD.  If you have it, please get help.  Talk to your health care provider or a trusted companion.  There is hope and healing. If you don’t have it – be thankful, and be nice.  Look around you and remember 7%.

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Kathy

I've been a Family Nurse Practitioner since 1991. My most memorable patient was Meinhardt Raabe, the Munchkin Coroner from the Wizard of Oz. I now practice in Addiction Medicine and recently published Hepatitis C Quick Start: A guide for the clinician.

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