Debunking the 3 Most Common Myths About PTSD
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with PTSD or simply want to find out more about it, now it’s your chance to become more open-minded. In this blog, we’re debunking the most common myths surrounding this condition.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder which is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic experience, such as an assault, death of a loved one, bullying and surviving a crash. The common symptoms are flashbacks, nightmares, feeling of guilt, disturbed sleep, depression and hyperarousal.
The Most Common Myths
Unfortunately, despite PTSD being a well-known condition, there’s still stigma attached to it. Here are the most common myths:
Myth 1: Only military veterans get PTSD
The origins of PTSD can be traced back to world war I when the name for the condition ‘shell shock’ emerged. It referred to a set of symptoms that soldiers who experienced atrocities of the war had to deal with, including confusion, tremor, nightmares and impaired hearing. While PTSD became just another way to describe shell shock, the majority of research has focused on military veterans, which is why a lot of people still believe that PTSD is a problem only faced by soldiers. However, it is estimated that 3 in 100 people suffer from PTSD in the UK.  People who are at most risk of developing PTSD are also firefighters, victims of abuse and car crashes and natural disaster survivors.
Myth 2: PTSD is a sign of weakness
Contrary to the stereotype, PTSD isn’t a weakness – it’s a natural response to a highly stressful situation. The severity of PTSD will depend on several things such as the duration of the trauma, the presence of a strong support network and other risk factors such as mental health problems. Just because someone isn’t capable of living their life the same way as before the trauma doesn’t mean they’re weak, it just means that their brain is struggling to process the traumatic memory.
Myth 3: PTSD will go away on its own
PTSD causes changes in the functioning of the brain. When we encounter a threat, the flight-or-fight response activates within our bodies so that we can react adequately to the situation and keep ourselves safe. But in people who suffer from PTSD, that brain’s alarm system becomes oversensitive and even seemingly harmless stimuli can be interpreted as threats, for example, sudden noises. This makes it impossible to completely get rid of the symptoms without professional help; typically CBT or EMDR therapy.
While it’s possible to learn coping skills on your own to get by, your goal should be learning how to live your life to the fullest again. Contact My Family Psychologist if you’re suffering from PTSD and want to begin your healing journey
If you are feeling pressured or need someone to speak to, contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat about how we may be able to help.
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