Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is be a debilitating mental health condition that can surface after the experience of a significant traumatic event.
We have created this blog in honor of PTSD awareness month with the hope of dispelling some of the most common myths about PTSD, to provide information and hope about this very treatable condition.
Myth #1: You can only get PTSD from combat. This is absolutely untrue. People can go on to suffer from PTSD as a result of many different kinds of traumas: sexual assaults, physical assaults, intimate partner violence, witnessing death or its aftereffects, motor vehicle accidents, other serious accidents, sudden/unexpected losses, natural disasters, man-made disasters, and also combat experiences.
Myth #2: Experiencing a trauma means you have PTSD. Most people experience some trauma over the course of their lives. Having a traumatic event occur is only one factor in the diagnosis of PTSD. Many people go on to recover naturally following traumatic events, and others go on to suffer from other difficulties like depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders. In order for someone to suffer from PTSD, not only do they have to have experienced a traumatic event, but also to suffer from 4 different specific types of symptoms- intrusion/re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance, changes in thinking and mood, and changes in arousal and reactivity for at least one month after the trauma.
Myth #3: Having PTSD means you are weak. Surviving traumatic events speaks to the incredible strength of the human spirit. And struggling to make sense out of a senseless traumatic experience is not evidence of weakness, it’s actually very adaptive and one essential element in order to fully recover from traumas. This inaccurate perspective benefits no one and often keeps people from needlessly delaying important treatment.
Myth #4: PTSD is forever. This could not be more untrue. There are several cognitive behavioral treatments, including Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure therapy, that have been found by decades of research to effectively treat PTSD. These PTSD treatments are recommended by the American Psychological Association Treatment Practice Guidelines for PTSD and by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. These trauma treatments can effectively treat PTSD regardless of trauma experienced (assault, accidents, combat, etc), whether traumas were isolated or repeated, client age, and regardless of time since the trauma was experienced. Even if someone’s traumas occurred 50+ years prior to them coming to treatment, PTSD can still be treated effectively. Also, long-term outcome studies have found that once PTSD is treated, it’s treated. This means that it will not return once treatment is over. These effective PTSD treatments are offered at the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of the Palm Beaches.
Myth #5: If I just avoid the trauma and PTSD symptoms long enough, it’ll just go away. Unfortunately, there is no data to suggest that avoiding the trauma or avoiding symptoms will make them go away. In fact, avoidance of the trauma and associated feelings is one of the factors that can keep people stuck from recovering. This is not a case of “time heals all wounds.” If PTSD symptoms persist for longer than a month, they warrant appropriate treatment.
If you live in Boca Raton or in the greater Palm Beach County area and area looking for an expert PTSD psychologist, PTSD therapist or trauma treatment, contact the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of the Palm Beaches at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 299-0383.