An estimated 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives. An estimated 5% of these individuals – more than 13 million people – experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after a traumatic event. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, unwanted memories, avoidance of situations that may remind a person of the event, heightened reactions, anxiety, depression, and more. It’s safe to say that traumatic events can cause great distress in our perceptions of the world; how do these events shape our interactions with friends, acquaintances, strangers, and even romantic partners?
A study titled, “Understanding the Impact of Trauma: Contributions of PTSD and Depression” analyzed the results of 109 individuals who were being assessed for mental health problems, possibly including treatment. The researchers wanted to find out the interpersonal strain of those who experienced PTSD and depression, and found three major factors affecting individuals’ relationships with others: emotional numbing, depression, and hyperarousal symptoms.
Emotional numbness serves as an avoidance tactic of individuals who do not want to face the painful feelings they’re experiencing. This, in turn, causes them to create distance between themselves and others, especially people who want to be involved on a more emotional level. Depression may also cause distance in interpersonal relationships, as many people with depression have distorted perceptions and feelings of isolation, even if others truly care about them. Lastly, hyperarousal symptoms, such as sudden outbursts of irritability, can make relationships of any kind more challenging for those with PTSD. If these are the most common factors affecting the functionality of relationships, how does a person with PTSD overcome these barriers?
In the face of any traumatic event, seeking therapy is the most preventative measure one can take. The sooner a person begins speaking with a therapist and working through their feelings, the more likely they are to find acceptance to move forward in a healthy way. If initial help is not sought and PTSD develops, treatment is necessary to help a person find the resolve they need. Treatment most often involves psychotherapy, which may last 6-12 weeks and most often involves a form of cognitive restructuring or exposure therapy. Medications such as antidepressants may be prescribed to help the individual obtain clarity whilst working through their issues.
If you’ve been struggling with symptoms of PTSD, make the decision to seek help today. You do not deserve to be kept in the dark any longer. It’s never too late.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.