Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that develops as a result of a traumatic event. In the past, soldiers who returned home from active military duty were described as shell-shocked. Looking back, experts now believe shell-shock referred to PTSD. People with symptoms of PTSD need the help of mental health professionals. Moreover, they need the support of their family and friends. This is easier said than done, and for most, it’s not a straight and obvious path leading to treatment right after symptoms develop.
Many are still afraid to seek help due to feelings of shame and the stigma that surrounds the illness. The myths and misconceptions that are perpetuated about PTSD can be very damaging to those with the condition.
Below are 7 myths debunked about PTSD.
1. People with PTSD are weak.
One of the most dangerous lies ever said about PTSD is that people with the mental illness are weak. People with PTSD are compared and contrasted with those who have the same experience who didn’t emerge with PTSD. Developing PTSD has nothing to do with weakness. Some people are just predisposed due to genetics, while others have witnessed or endured far more horrific experiences and for longer periods of time.
2. PTSD only affects veterans.
While PTSD is often associated with veterans, PTSD can affect anyone – even children as young as six. Traumatic experiences that can cause PTSD include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse, as well as divorce, accidents, natural disasters, and the loss of a loved one. If it is scary, life-threatening, or triggers a fight or flight response, it can cause PTSD.
3. People with PTSD are violent.
The blame for this myth rests on how PTSD is portrayed in the media. Many have a perception of people with PTSD are violent and close to suicide. While some patients with PTSD do become violent and contemplate committing suicide, a greater percentage do not fall under this category.
4. PTSD symptoms are standard.
Symptoms of PTSD are not standard by any means – each person’s situation is unique. Two patients with the same experiences who develop PTSD may have different symptoms or symptoms of varying severity. Others may have no symptoms at all for long periods of time.
5. Patients with PTSD are damaged and cannot function well.
Many people with PTSD continue to go to work or school and are high-functioning. The mental illness is characterized by flashbacks to traumatic experiences, but it doesn’t render a person unable to function well. Someone you know could have PTSD, and you wouldn’t even have a clue. Being high-functioning also doesn’t mean you don’t need treatment. PTSD can affect certain aspects of your life and wreak havoc on your mental health all while you function perfectly well in other areas of your life.
6. You can get over PTSD on your own.
This is a statement often spoken by someone with no experience with mental illness. Just like other mental health illnesses, you cannot just get over PTSD. It requires a comprehensive and individualized treatment by a mental health professional. People who ignore mental health symptoms or attempt to self-treat rarely see their issues resolved.
7. PTSD is impossible to treat.
Unlike other mental illnesses, PTSD is very responsive to treatment. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and each person has to receive customized treatment that includes psychotherapy and medication.
Psychiatrist in New York City and Southbury, CT
If you are ready to seek treatment for PTSD, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Mark Stracks of Psy-Visions has extensive experience and success in treating patients with PTSD. Our team uses a personalized approach to treatment and crafts a customized treatment plan for each patient. Moreover, we strive to create a relaxing environment and make you feel comfortable as you get treatment.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Stracks, call (718) 887-2918 for New York and (203) 405-1745 for Connecticut or fill out our appointment request form now. For your convenience, we also offer remote psychiatric consultations.