The world can be a very dangerous place. Tornados, Hurricanes, Personal Assaults, Car Accidents and even Terrorist Attacks can occur. People exposed to these events can sometimes have problems with feeling safe and secure after they feel their life so profoundly and personally threatened. Most of the time, people do not choose to have a traumatic experience as it is usually well out of their control. A few very special people do submit themselves to traumatic events; members of our military and first responders such as paramedics, firefighters, and police officers.
When people are exposed to life threatening levels of trauma, or traumatic stress, they can become overwhelmed with the circumstances that they experienced. Their perspective of life can significantly change, no longer finding the same levels of enjoyment or zeal for life. People that have experienced a traumatic event are frequently described as aloof, skittish, on edge, jumpy, irritable, emotionally numb, or even sometimes as hopeless.
People can show a reaction to the trauma sometimes well after the trauma occurs and the reaction does not go away within a month or so. The traumatic event continues to be experienced by the person, even though they are presently safe.
—They can have vivid recurring nightmares or even “flashbacks” where they can see the trauma happening over and over again.
—They may act or feel as though the trauma was continuing to occur, even though they may know that it is not.
—They frequently avoid anything that could remind them of the trauma, as they felt such fear, helplessness or horror when the trauma occurred and do not ever want to experience anything like it again.
—There can be a significant difficulty with things that most people take for granted. People exposed to trauma can have difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
When a person experiences most of the problems that were just described, they may have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. This is a common problem that people exposed to trauma can develop. This does not mean that they cannot recover, though they may need assistance to return to the way that they were before the trauma occurred.
Later, we will talk about ways to help a person with PTSD. Above all, it is most important to never lose hope. You or your loved one can get through this. There are a lot of people out there that do care and want to offer you as much help as you need though this time!