If you or a loved one has ever experienced trauma, you may have wondered about the development of PTSD. Many things can bring about PTSD causes. Knowing the signs and what causes PTSD will help you decide when it is time to get help.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD develops after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. When you experience something traumatic, distressing, or frightening, it’s perfectly normal to have problems immediately after, such as trouble sleeping, feeling on edge, difficulty concentrating, or flashbacks. PTSD is what happens when these symptoms remain months or years after the traumatic event and interfere with your daily life.
Many types of events can lead to PTSD, including:
- Physical or sexual assault
- Traumatic events in the workplace
- Health problems
- Childbirth problems
- Death in the family
- Natural disasters
- Systemic poverty
- Exposure to drug abuse or community violence
One of the most important things to recognize about PTSD is that you don’t necessarily need to have experienced the traumatic event directly to suffer from PTSD. If you know a person who was assaulted, you can experience PTSD even though you were not the one directly involved. Witnessing a violent act could lead to PTSD even if you were not the target.
What Causes PTSD?
While we do not fully understand what causes PTSD, we do know several risk factors play a role in the likelihood it develops. Personal factors, such as genetics and neurobiological factors, can influence whether or not you get PTSD after a traumatic event. That said, PTSD can happen at any age, and risk factors increase your likelihood of developing PTSD later. For example:
- Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men.
- Having experienced childhood trauma means you are more likely to experience PTSD later.
- Going through traumatic events that last a long time, like ongoing poverty, exposure to violence in the home, drugs, or family members with mental health conditions, can increase your risk of PTSD.
- Having no social support or little social support following a traumatic event.
- A history of mental health problems or substance abuse puts you at a higher risk for PTSD.
- Dealing with additional stress after a traumatic event like losing a job or loved one after a car accident or natural disaster worsens your risk of developing PTSD.
What are the signs of PTSD?
Signs of PTSD can be categorized into four groups:
- Experiencing or reliving the details of your trauma. This includes flashbacks and nightmares primarily, things that make you feel as though you are reliving the traumatic event.
- Avoidance. This is where you try to avoid things that trigger you, which can lead you to keep as busy as possible to avoid thinking about the event or no longer engaging in activities that remind you of the event.
- Hyperactivity. This is where you have problems sleeping, are constantly anxious or tense, and have a higher resting level of adrenaline. Increased adrenaline can leave you on the lookout for potential danger. It can eventually interfere with your long-term production of adrenaline and cognitive function.
- Cognitive and mood problems. As a result of the other signs of PTSD, you might have difficulties focusing or processing emotions. Many people who survive abuse or attacks have feelings of guilt or blame others for what happened. This can lead to mood disorders, social withdrawal, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
How to Find PTSD Treatment Near New Jersey
If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD and it’s been months since the traumatic event, it’s important that you recognize the need for help. The only way to successfully overcome the causes of PTSD is to recognize the signs of PTSD in yourself and find an appropriate treatment center.
Our staff at Water Gap Wellness Center offers Tri-State outpatient programs designed to improve your mental health. A big part of our treatment is using a trauma-informed approach. A trauma-informed approach works hard to prevent any secondary trauma while addressing your needs. Our staff is trained to create a supportive environment, helping you build strength from within, and giving you the empowerment you need to overcome your trauma.