What women should know about PTSD, by Chy King
When a person thinks of post traumatic stress disorder, the first thing that comes to mind is the grizzled veteran, back from Vietnam. The truth of the matter is that women that have never even seen war are at a very high risk for post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. No less than half of the women in the United States of America will suffer from some type of traumatic event in their lifetimes. A significant portion of these women will then go on to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder as well.
Trauma presents itself differently in a woman’s life as a rule. While certainly the female soldiers that have fought in our military has suffered from the same type of PTSD as the male soldiers, civilian women are much more likely to suffer trauma at home. Some of the most common causes of post traumatic stress disorder in women include sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, sexual assault, childhood abuse, childhood neglect and of course domestic violence. While many PTSD cases in women are brought on by violence, other things may cause the disorder as well. These things include the sudden unexpected death of a loved one, divorce, addiction problems and other major life changes.
While the reasons men and women experienced PTSD are commonly different, the symptoms are often very much the same. Some of these PTSD symptoms include jumpiness, lack of emotion, hyper emotion, avoidance behavior, anger and depression ranging from mild to extreme. Extreme anxiety and anxious disorders are also commonly developed in women who suffer from traumatic events. There are many other potential symptoms of PTSD, but these are the most common.
Treatment for PTSD in women has actually come quite a long ways. No longer is a woman, or anyone with PTSD for that matter, relegated to medicine alone in their attempts to get better.
Grief counseling is one of the most helpful ways of working through PTSD in a lasting and meaningful way. Just having someone to listen to your fears can help to alleviate them. Grief counselors can help you to recognize opportunities for healing and be wonderful listeners.
Cognitive therapy helps you look at your thoughts in a meaningful way and allows the therapist the opportunity to understand them. Cognitive therapy also allows you to see when your thinking is skewed. If you are having phobias that are unrealistic, then cognitive therapy can help you to see why. The best part of cognitive therapy is that it is logical and makes a lot of sense to most patients.
Exposure therapy is a more advanced form of PTSD treatment in which a professional therapist slowly brings back memories that are causing the disorder. By slowly exposing oneself to these memories, they are learning to cope with them without fear. Being there in the room with the therapist, the patient with PTSD can experience the full range of emotions in a “safe” setting and see them for what they are.
Some common medications that are also used in the treatment of PTSD include Zoloft and Paxil. While these medications are certainly helpful in treating PTSD, they should not be used as a band-aid for the needed counseling. The first and most important step is to get counseling, and then use the medicines as support for the situation.
Using some or all of the methods mentioned here, PTSD in women is very commonly cured. While the bad memories will never ever go away, the gripping fear that holds you hostage can be eliminated at best and minimized at the least.
If you feel that you may be experiencing PTSD, please contact your physician and get help as soon as possible. PTSD in women is very treatable and there is no reason for someone to suffer through it in silence.