Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts November 2001
Short Cuts:HEALTH BEAT
When trauma lasts
Shock, disbelief, anger and anxiety are normal and immediate
reactions to a traumatic experience. But when these feelings
persist for months, the sufferer might have Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. Left untreated, PTSD can continue for up to 10 years.
PTSD sufferers have trouble functioning in their daily lives.
They experience flashbacks, have trouble sleeping and eating,
difficulty concentrating, are easily startled, feel uneasy and
might even have panic attacks. They become fixated on adjusting
their lives -- shunning people, places and things -- to avoid any
reminder of the traumatic experience. Very often, they turn to
alcohol or drugs to soothe their anxieties.
Sufferers often are misdiagnosed because they exhibit symptoms
of other physical and mental disorders, such as frequent headaches,
depression, chest pains and digestive or gynecological problems.
Treatment includes psychotherapy to work through the trauma and
medication to relieve distressing symptoms. More information is
available at www.mental-health.com.
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