Understanding Symptoms of PTSD

08 Sep 2014 Comments Off on Understanding Symptoms of PTSD , , ,

Stress and Traumatic events can happen to anyone of us at anytime in our lives. How we cope with the aftermath of that experience is dependent on many different variables in our life. Some of these variables include but are not specific to: our genetic makeup, the supports we have currently, whether we have suffered a previous trauma in our childhood or earlier on in our life, how our parents coped with trauma, etc. PTSD can be described as a “normal reaction to an abnormal event.” Our bodies and our minds react in certain ways to help us cope with our daily lives. Some of these symptoms include:

  1. Hyper-arousal: people who have experienced trauma can begin to exhibit symptoms immediately or years later. They may act jumpy or constantly nervous. They have difficulty calming themselves down or relaxing. This reaction is our bodies’ way of preparing a fight or flight reaction in case anything else traumatic occurs.
  2. Constriction: This symptom can manifest as a recurring tightness in the chest. A person may have tingly feelings in their fingers or toes or constantly feel as if their blood pressure is high. Again, this reaction is the body’s way of protecting its organs in anticipation of a disaster.
  3. Dissociation: Some people who have suffered a trauma feel as if they are constantly having “out of body experiences.” They recognize that they are no longer experiencing the trauma but feel as if their body and mind are separate. This symptom is our body’s way of separating itself from something terrible that might occur.
  4. Intrusion- People who feel as if they are constantly looking over their shoulder or that they cannot think about anything but the trauma may be described as experiencing intrusion.

If you have experienced a trauma in your life that you feel is negatively affecting your ability to function or you are experiencing any symptoms of PTSD, it may be worth consulting with your doctor or a counsellor. Many provinces have “Crime Victim Assistance Programs” where counselling is paid for directly by the government. Other people suffering from PTSD after a motor-vehicle accident may be entitled to benefits through their ICBC claim. Please contact me at Joanneschwartz.com for more information.