Myths Surrounding PTSD Leave Stigma
There are numerous myths that surround PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – myths that bring increased turmoil to the lives of those diagnosed with PTSD through misunderstanding, prejudice, maltreatment and negative attitudes presented by society as a whole. Those diagnosed with PTSD often feel they are “marked with a stigma” often based in myths.
How common is PTSD?
In the U.S. there are approximately 5.2 million adults who develop PTSD during the course of any given year. Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men, yet over 60% of men compared to 51% of women report experiencing one traumatic event – living through a traumatic event does not automatically facilitate the development of PTSD.
Traumatic Events Associated with PTSD
For men, the traumatic events most often associated with PTSD are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect and/or physical abuse. For women, the events that may lead to PTSD, are rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon, or memories of childhood physical abuse.
Common Myths about PTSD
Finding or seeking treatment for the mental health diagnosis of PTSD is a big step that can lead to a fuller life. An experienced and qualified therapist can help you dispel the myths from your mind and develop a successful treatment plan designed around your special needs and lifestyle.
Common myths include:
- Myth: PTSD is a sign of mental weakness, and only people who are weak get PTSD. It is not weakness but rather a human response to uncommon experiences. The trauma experienced may be in the form of a personal trauma, a natural disaster, multiple traumatic events, or trauma that continues over a long term period. Usually those with PTSD have a poor interpersonal support system in place.
- Myth: Anything can be traumatic. While almost any situation or event could be deemed traumatic in some way, there is criteria in place that needs to be met in order to be classified as “traumatic” which includes a) exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence, b) directly experiencing the event, witnessing it in person, or being indirectly exposed to the event such as repeatedly hearing and/or seeing the details of a traumatic event.
- Myth: You can get PTSD immediately after experiencing a traumatic event. Initial emotional reactions are expected; however, stress reactions need to last at least a month for a diagnosis of PTSD to be considered. Acute Stress, while similar to PTSD, may be diagnosed within the first month of the trauma.
- Myth: People with PTSD are crazy and/or dangerous. PTSD is not demonstrated with psychosis or violence. “Crazy” is not a diagnosis but is a stigmatizing label.
- Myth: Those with PTSD should “just get over it.” While PTSD can be successfully treated, the symptoms do not just “go away” even with time, and these bothersome symptoms may require continued professional treatment and guidance to cope and adapt.
Treatment for PTSD
Whether you have experienced a trauma recently or decades ago, there is treatment for PTSD. Seeking out help does not mean you failed in coping with your emotions. Getting treatment is a sign of strength and desire to live life to the fullest. Call the office today for a confidential psychiatric evaluation and begin the healing process.