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Myths and Facts About PTSD

 Myths and Facts About PTSD

As many as 10% of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health disorder triggered by an encounter with a traumatic or life-threatening event or series of events. PTSD is associated with both cognitive and functional dysfunction, but the good news is that it can be successfully treated — and the sooner you begin treatment, the better.

The problem: Even though PTSD isn’t rare, it’s still widely misunderstood. For many people, the myths surrounding PTSD can wind up delaying both diagnosis and treatment that can help.

At Axis Psychiatry in Las Vegas, Nevada, Uzma Zafar, MD, and her team offer patient-centered PTSD treatment to help patients manage their condition and improve their health and their quality of life. In this post, learn about some of the PTSD myths that could be keeping you from seeking treatment.

Myth: PTSD isn’t a real illness

Like other mental health issues, PTSD suffers from the misconception that it’s not a “real” disorder. In fact, PTSD is a medical problem that’s recognized by the medical community and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Like any other organ, your brain can develop disorders and diseases that affect the way it functions. PTSD is a disorder that develops from traumatic exposure, causing your brain to react in extreme ways when exposed to triggers that are reminiscent of that trauma.

Myth: PTSD only affects military personnel

PTSD came to the forefront during the Vietnam War (in previous conflicts, PTSD was often referred to as “shell shock”). The association with combat led many people to believe PTSD only affects military personnel in wartime situations — but that’s absolutely not true.

PTSD can and does affect people who have been exposed to all sorts of trauma, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. That includes one-time events, like being involved in a fight or car accident, as well as events over time, like the trauma experienced in an abusive relationship or while living in an unsafe or threatening environment.

Myth: Traumatic events always trigger PTSD

Everyone experiences trauma in different ways, and people react to trauma differently, as well. In fact, the majority of people who experience trauma do not go on to develop PTSD, which can lead to a lot of guilt and shame for those who do suffer from the condition.

Even a tiny difference in brain structure or neural connections inside your brain can lead you to react to trauma differently. Differences in your environment and your personal history may also play a role. Researchers are still learning why PTSD is triggered in some people and not in others.

Myth: Only life-threatening events trigger PTSD

Experiencing a life-threatening event can lead to PTSD. But the trauma you experience doesn’t necessarily have to be severe. Prolonged exposure to an anxiety-provoking event or an unsafe environment can lead to PTSD, even if you don’t feel like your life is in danger. People in these situations can experience the same sensations of fear, panic, and a loss of control associated with life-threatening events, as well.

Myth: You can get over PTSD by being stronger

PTSD is not a weakness. It’s a health problem that affects an organ, just as diabetes affects your blood sugar and kidneys. You can’t overcome diabetes by “being stronger,” and you can’t “cure” PTSD simply by “just getting over it.”

PTSD causes changes in certain areas of the brain, and to overcome these changes, you need medical treatment. Today, there are novel therapies that have proven very effective in helping people manage PTSD and improve their health and wellness.

Relieve your PTSD symptoms

Don’t let PTSD take a toll on your health or your quality of life. To learn about therapies that can help, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Las Vegas, Nevada, practice today

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