Signs of Trouble

Getting Help Signs of trouble (Service Member)

  • Irritability, jumpiness.
  • Anger easily and “blow up” at loved ones or friends.
  • Feeling hyper-alert, needing to be careful, on the watch for danger.
  • Feeling emotionally flat, uninvolved with people, distant.
  • Feeling you can’t relate to life around you or to the concerns of your family or friends in the way you used to.
  • Difficulty concentrating, paying attention, poor memory.
  • Difficulty sleeping, nightmares.
  • Episodes of tearfulness for no apparent reason.
  • Feelings that people at home “don’t get it” and you can’t really explain it to them.
  • Feelings of not fitting in.
  • More TV, internet use, video games than before.
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs.
  • Recurring thoughts of doing harm to yourself or others.
  • Feeling misunderstood or disconnected from your family and close friends.
  • Feeling like a stranger in your own home.
  • Feeling emotionally distant or numb.
  • Having problems eating.
  • Losing interest or pleasure in things you normally enjoy.

Sometimes a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide. Learn to recognize these warning signs:

  • Hopelessness, feeling like there's no way out.
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings.
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live.
  • Rage or anger.
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking.
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Withdrawing from family or friends.

The following signs require immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself.
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide.
  • Self-destructive behavior such as, drug abuse, weapons, etc. 

Five Things You may not Know about PTSD

 According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the disorder is often associated with war veterans who have been exposed to extended violence, PTSD and its treatments involve more than you might think.
Here are five things about PTSD that might surprise you:
1.  You can get PTSD from your zip code
PTSD isn't just limited to troops and victims of violence. Constant violence outside your front door, including hearing gunshots or knowing a murder victim, can keep you on high alert. Redearch completed by Emory University of psychiatry Dr. Kerry Ressler and his colleagues provides evidence of higher rates of PTSD in some urban populations than in war veterans. Cities such as Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in particular have seen an increase in cases, they say.
2.  Ecstasy might help
We are not just talking about finding moments of joy or spiritual awareness. The illegal drud MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or Molly, has been shown to help some individuals suffering from PTSD. Combined with therapy, it can assist in processing traumatic memories and change thought patterns surrounding traumatic events.
Rachel Hope was part of one MDMA study. She estimates that 80% of her symptoms disappeared after her first MDMA-assisted therapy session.
3.  Heart attack and stroke survivors are at risk
Surviving a traumatizing medical event can also trigger PTSD. Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, and his colleagues analyzed heart attack and stroke patients in two different studies. They found that one in four stroke patients had PTSD within a year of having a stroke. And about one in eight heart attack survivors developed PTSD plus those that did were twice as likely to have another heart attack or die within three years after the first attack.
4.  It reduces gray matter in your brain
According to the National Institutes of Health, gray matter is made up of neurons and other cells that send signals throughout your brain. PTSD can cause interference. A study published by the Society of Biological Psychiatry found that PTSD specifically affected the gray matter networks related to emotion processing, fear extinction and emotion regulation, which can lead to distorted emotional memories and the inability to regulate fear responses. There's some good news, however. A 2013 study found that structural damage to gray matter caused by PTSD does improve over time, but the brain might not return to pre-trauma functioning.
5.  How you respond immediately after a traumatic event matters
Doctor Charles Raison, CNN Health's mental health expert, explains that people who have strong emotional reactions and feelings of terror immediately following a traumatic event are more likely to develop PTSD. Disassociation and "spacing out" can also put people more at risk for the disorder. Individuals who are more calm and collected after trauma, on the other hand, tend to do better in the long run. The NIH lists treatments such as, talk therapy, exposure therapy and medications for PTSD. Contacting friends and family support following an event is also an important step in the healing process.

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