So PTSD has come into your life — you must have a lot of questions! For an overview of symptoms, causes, treatment options and how PTSD affects the brain click here.
To follow are the most asked questions regarding PTSD and recovery. The answers should help you get more of a clear handle on things.
Download any of the free archives of our radio show YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA for in-depth analysis, answers and explanations by experts in the field of trauma, PTSD and recovery.
Can PTSD be cured?
The answer is, Yes. Every day survivors everywhere are taking steps to take back their power, redefine their identities and let go of the past.
How long does it take to heal PTSD?
There is no set time for PTSD healing. Everyone’s healing journey is individual and depends on their own desire, determination and access to the therapeutic process best suited to them. This means healing can take as little as one month or as long as a few years. The important thing is to be flexible and not try to force it but let recovery evolve at a pace that allows the results to remain solid and organic.
What’s the best treatment option?
Since everyone’s healing path is individual it is up to survivors and their support network to research available therapeutic interventions and then choose what to try. If/when one doesn’t work DO NOT GIVE UP! Part of the healing process can be failing at it, and then getting up and trying again — finding a new therapist or practitioner, learning about a new technique. Healing is not a straight line. Don’t expect it to go smoothly, quickly or just like it did for someone else. Healing is cumulative. Keep uncovering new ideas and try them all until you find the combination that works for you.
Do you have to be in the military to have PTSD?
No, PTSD has a variety of causes. Read here to see a comprehensive list.
Not at all! People evidence PTSD in different ways. Take this self test to see if your experience might qualify.
Can you have PTSD without remembering every detail of the traumatic event?
You absolutely can. Sometimes the mind puts in place a coping mechanism that doesn’t allow you to consciously remember the trauma. However, the subconscious mind retains all the details and will continue to react to them until treatment occurs.
How do you understand PTSD when the memories aren’t clear?
PTSD is a mental health condition the presents as a reaction to trauma. Memories don’t need to be clear for you to understand that your subconscious mind is still reacting to events. PTSD symptoms are real evidence of the stress of experience. Understanding PTSD means comprehending that trauma can lie below the surface of the conscious mind and still have dramatic effects. When memories aren’t clear treatment can still occur by focusing on relieving the symptoms and the patterns of beliefs they represent.
How do you make sense of PTSD when the strength of symptoms don’t equal the clarity of the memory?
It all comes back down to the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. The subconscious mind, in order to protect you, may bury memories. However, their existence still remains and the stress of the lack of resolution surrounding them can cause greater and greater degrees of symptoms. You make sense of PTSD by addressing the fact of its existence through therapeutic intervention.
PTSD does continue to develop as time goes by. For this reason upon diagnosis immediate intervention is recommended.
Can you get PTSD from emotional abuse and neglect without violence?
Yes. Childhood abuse of this kind frequently sets up survivors for a PTSD experience.
How can I manage flashbacks?
Good question! There are several techniques to try: Read this article of 18 ways to manage flashbacks written by a stress management coach. And check out this list of techniques compiled by survivors.
What questions would you add to this list? Contact Michele with suggestions.
(Photos: BookphotoSA, jhhwild, Misallphoto)