Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects daily life for up to 6% of the U.S. population. PTSD can be one of the most debilitating mental disorders due to its uncontrollable symptoms. Because of how far-reaching the disorder can become, people with PTSD and those close to them need to know how PTSD affects daily life.
Among other symptoms, many sufferers experience flashbacks, struggle with concentration. They also have disrupted sleep patterns and experience irritability and constant worry.
Of significant note is that people with PTSD will often turn to drugs and alcohol as a method of self-medication.
The good news is post-traumatic stress disorder treatment has come a long way. Many sufferers have found relief through PTSD therapy. PTSD therapy can help manage these symptoms so that daily life becomes more manageable again. Even when someone with PTSD experiences a co-occurring disorder, such as substance use disorder, highly effective options are available to treat the symptoms.
PTSD is a normal response to an abnormal situation. When faced with a traumatic event, the brain releases chemicals that put the body into “fight or flight” mode. This gives people the strength and energy to escape danger or survive an attack when their lives feel threatened. Unfortunately, this fight-or-flight response never stops for many people who have PTSD. They feel as if they are constantly in danger of experiencing another trauma.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms of PTSD and how they can appear in a sufferer’s life.
One of the primary ways that PTSD affects daily life is through flashbacks. Flashbacks are when a person relives the trauma in their mind. This is often triggered by something in their environment that reminds them of what happened to them.
The reality of flashbacks aren’t necessarily what we see on TV shows. The sufferer may not suddenly disappear in their mind and relive a visual experience. Instead, they may feel like they are reliving the incident again and experience all of the same emotions they felt during it: shock, fear, anger, helplessness, or despair.
People with PTSD may have trouble distinguishing between a flashback and reality. This is because their brain tells them they are legitimately in danger. The experience can be very frightening and intense. It can prevent a person from living their life how they want to live it. This leads them to isolate themselves from others and avoid any triggers that may lead to a flashback.
Because flashbacks cause a person living with PTSD to experience the traumatic event repeatedly, they often find it difficult to fall asleep. Their minds are still trying to process everything that happened or deal with how they are feeling.
A lack of sleep can make people with PTSD irritable and sluggish during the day because their brain isn’t receiving enough rest to function properly. Sleeplessness also leads to other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which a person with PTSD is already at a higher risk of experiencing.
The constant stress associated with PTSD can interfere with how the brain processes information and how a person focuses. It’s common for people living with PTSD to have trouble concentrating on daily tasks, school work, or conversations. The struggle to focus can be incredibly frustrating because it brings anxiety about how they are performing compared to how they should perform. As you can see, this results in an overwhelming cycle that can be incredibly frustrating for the sufferer.
The fight or flight response that people with PTSD experience chronically can cause them to be on edge all of the time. People may avoid situations, people, or anything else that triggers painful memories, so they don’t have to feel the fear and stress associated with it. This constant state of heightened anxiety can lead to irritability because sufferers are often less able to cope with their feelings.
PTSD also causes problems with how a person may express anger and how they deal with stress because it is their brain’s way of protecting them from what happened. For people who usually let out their anger in aggressive ways, the sufferer may become more withdrawn and shut down rather than reacting because this is how their brain prefers to protect them.
Hyper-vigilance, or how a person stays on high alert to protect themselves from potential threats, is how PTSD can affect daily life. People suffering from this form of chronic stress may find it difficult to relax and enjoy activities as their mind always feels as if they are in danger. In some ways, the brain has become stuck in the way the traumatic event made the sufferer feel. However, over time, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment helps the sufferer learn to trust how safe they are now.
People with PTSD often turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with what they are experiencing. Unfortunately, this makes their PTSD worse in the long run and prevents them from receiving effective treatment.
Many sufferers may not even realize how much they are using. Their goal is to avoid feeling how they feel, and sometimes this makes it hard to know how bad their alcohol or drug problem has become.
Thankfully, PTSD therapy can help manage the symptoms that they are using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.Absolute Awakenings is dedicated to providing PTSD therapy to help people conquer addiction and build a rewarding life in recovery. Call now and begin your recovery journey with us.