It’s estimated that 3.5% of the American population struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) annually. Originally, PTSD was a stand-in for the terms “shell-shock” and “battle fatigue” and typically applied to veterans of wars who returned home with trauma-related symptoms.
But we understand now that PTSD can arise from a wide range of stressors aside from war, and it’s twice as likely to affect women as men.
As a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Ifeanyi Olele of Genesis Psychiatric Solutions treats trauma- and stressor-related disorders like PTSD. We have offices in Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia, as well as Washington, DC; Los Angeles, California; and Boca Raton, Florida. We also offer telehealth appointments.
A PTSD diagnosis can be based on one or more traumatic events. PTSD episodes are typically triggered when you experience a thought or event that thrusts you into a vivid flashback to your original trauma.
Common triggers include:
- Exposure to lots of noise
- Sharp retorts such as firecrackers
- A car backfiring
- Someone shouting angrily or throwing or breaking things
- Being stuck in a crowd
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD can have a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms. You could have difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia), suffer constant or recurrent nightmares, or feel anxious all of the time. Your body gets stressed over and over with every trigger event.
Many people with PTSD report “blanking” or “zoning out,” during which they lose blocks of time. Another common symptom is a constant inability to focus. You could stop enjoying things that used to give you pleasure, lose interest in food or sex, and even stop paying attention to personal hygiene.
Eventually, if you don’t seek treatment for PTSD, you may find it difficult to get out of bed and could fall into a deep depression. Intrusive thoughts might urge self harm, and you might find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs to dampen your pain.
The physical toll of PTSD
If you have PTSD, you may also experience severe physical symptoms, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Joint pain, back pain, or other types of pain
PTSD can lead to lifelong health problems and physical complications, such as:
- Heart disease
- Mobility issues
Getting appropriate treatment for PTSD is the best way to safeguard your health and reduce your trigger events as well as your psychological and physical symptoms.
To schedule a consultation, call our location closest to you or request an appointment online.