Traumatic events that can cause PTSD… Why do we tend to connect PTSD primarily to warriors?

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

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Traumatic Events and PTSD…The Cleveland Clinic…

What are the causes of PTSD?

“Any event that is life-threatening or greatly affects a person’s emotional well-being can result in PTSD. Examples of these traumatic events include:

  • rape
  • war
  • natural disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.)
  • abuse
  • serious accidents
  • captivity

Traumas caused by other people (such as rape or assault) are more likely to cause PTSD. Strong emotions caused by these events can create changes in the brain that can bring about PTSD. People can also have PTSD for traumas they have perpetrated (i.e., soldiers who have shot enemy combatants can have PTSD).”

Who is at risk for PTSD?

Anyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event, especially if it is long-term or repeated, is at risk for PTSD. Certain groups, including war veterans and women, may be more likely to develop PTSD. For example, about 8% of men and 20% of women develop PTSD after a traumatic event.

It is not known why some people suffer from PTSD after a traumatic event and some do not. Some factors make you more likely to develop PTSD, including:”

  • Exposure to multiple traumatic events
  • Exposure to long-term or repeated traumas
  • Personal history of mental health problems, especially anxiety disorders
  • Lack of support from family and friends after a trauma

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By far, the public’s first reaction to the acronym, PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is war, warriors, combat veterans, military, soldiers, etc.  The on-set of PTSD is the normal reaction of the human brain’s chemistry to severe trauma.  The public is flooded by the media every day with the term PTSD as it relates to our heroes who serve America in all wars, especially when exposed to combat and injured with visible or invisible wounds.

It is not fair to veterans and their loved ones to isolate PTSD to one cause or one segment of our population.  It is also not fair to the thousands of people of all ages who experience trauma at home in America and elsewhere in the world each and every day, then suffer from the symptoms of PTSD.  Following is a quote from the back cover of my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in November of 2011:

“Approximately 8 Million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.  Steve has the courage to share his story, hoping it will help others to address their PTSD and break the intergenerational cycle.  Don’t go the journey alone.  As in Steve’s story, it requires the connectedness with others to go down the path of hope and healing…” Beverly Ventura, Marriage Family Therapist and Life Coach, Laguna Counseling. 

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Beverly Ventura, MFT

When I first started to write my childhood and early adult story of my own traumatic experience, Beverly was one of the first of my dear friends I contacted to learn about the symptoms and implications of PTSD.  At first it was a shock to find out that my experience with trauma was not an exception.  I was not alone!  Beverly gave me the confidence and courage to write my story to help me find a path of healing while making a difference for others.   She spoke to me on the phone often, and on Skype with encouragement and friendship.  Bev even read my first manuscript and gave me pointers on character development.  Our conversations showed me the way to an abundance of research on the subject.  My new level of awareness of the roots and symptoms of PTSD, and how it affected my own family for decades, gave me the passion and motivation to write my first non-fiction story, including starting a website and blog.  I will be forever grateful to Beverly’s caring friendship and give her major credit for helping me find peace of mind later in life.  My life was changed forever and for the better as a result of pressing forward to write my book.  I could not have accomplished this huge task without the help from dear friends like, Beverly, and loved ones who pushed me forward.

Trauma leading to PTSD and moral injury compares to an epidemic in my view…  The intergenerational pain and suffering seems endless.  The lack of awareness and stigma connected with mental health challenges discourages treatment and conversation.  Young adults who served America in combat hesitate to admit to a diagnosis of PTSD and treatment for fear they will not find work.  Others who suffer from severe trauma as civilians are often ignored and shunned by family members and must fend for themselves.  My own experience is a testimonial of a post WWII family destroyed by PTSD and decades of emotional challenges that went untreated.

The good news is we are achieving more and more awareness and the conversation is much louder and deeper than it was just 3 years ago when my book was first published.  I continue to have hope and confidence that we are close to achieving critical mass in knowledge and awareness around the subject of trauma and PTSD.   The first step in healing from invisible wounds from war or other traumatic experiences in life is awareness.  My new level of knowledge, human connectedness and healing saved my life.  It is never too late to find your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

 

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