Miseducation or lack of clarity can blur one’s understanding of anything. This can often happen with medical terminologies and disorders. The notion that only veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a learned falsehood. Many adopt a misconception due to a lack of knowledge or disassociation of any form of mental prognosis.
Because PTSD is a mental health disorder, many individuals associate it with something that only veterans can have based on how the media has portrayed it. Until recently, PTSD was only discussed alongside the topic of war, combat, and returning home from the military. Even commercials on PTSD usually show individuals acting as veterans who were once in service.
If Not Only Veterans Have PTSD, What Is It?
Regardless of how PTSD has been portrayed in the past, it is a disorder experienced by far more than just veterans. PTSD is a disorder that one may develop from highly traumatic and stressful experiences; anyone can experience PTSD. It even extends beyond those who primarily experience the traumatic event. Individuals who have experienced or witnessed such an event can also experience PTSD.
Some signs or symptoms of PTSD include:
- Mood swings
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Depression and crying spells
- Problems with memory
- Being easily upset or angered
- Extreme alertness
PTSD is developed from trauma, which originates from extremely stressful or terrifying experiences. There are even misconceptions about trauma. That is likely why there are individuals suffering without the knowledge of why. It is as if they cannot permit themselves to feel what they are feeling due to not knowing what to call it. As there are more stressful and distressing events outside of war, trauma and PTSD are associated with events beyond soldiers on the battlefield.
The Assumption That Only Veterans Have PTSD
PTSD is more than just a disorder related to trauma on the battlefields of war. However, some individuals are unaware of trauma or stress-related trauma they have experienced because of a lack of knowledge. For many, because of this, it makes sense that only veterans have PTSD.
Some people think of trauma as what people go through after being raped, beaten, or robbed at gunpoint. While these are all traumatic events, these events do not hold the place of all stress-related trauma. Women can experience PTSD after pregnancy, childbirth, or even raising children under certain circumstances. This is simply one of many different situations in which PTSD can be developed and experienced.
Individuals who have to do time in jail or prison can also experience PTSD. The anxiety-induced stress and trauma that one can be plagued with while locked away for years or any amount of time is unimaginable. Even survivors of hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can experience PTSD. There are many other cases in which people have had to live through stressful and traumatic situations that they still suffer from today.
The Relationship Between PTSD and Substance Use Disorder
Sometimes misinformation and not understanding your feelings can lead to depression. Trauma can follow you from childhood. If it continues to go unaddressed, depression can easily creep in. Having depression or anxiety without the knowledge or recollection of where it stems from can be difficult. Some people turn to substance use to cope with PTSD that they are unaware that they have.
Instead of working to heal from the trauma, they try to numb themselves from the pain. Some traumatic events are so intense that an individual may repress their memory of it. In these cases, it can fill as if something is wrong with you, but you cannot figure out what it is. Therefore, a relationship between PTSD and substance use is established. Using a substance or alcohol to cope may seem like a good temporary fix for whatever the issue may be. The substance can become a crutch on which you become dependent, only making matters worse.
Treatment for PTSD and Substance Use Disorder
PTSD is derived from trauma and can ultimately affect the mind and body. It shows up in mental, emotional, and physical responses to what we’ve experienced. Coming to terms with the fact that not only veterans have PTSD can be life-changing. It can free you from the box you have put yourself in due to not having a name or distinction for what you are feeling. Anyone who survives any form of trauma can have PTSD and deserves to get help.
Treatment can help you heal from the traumas of your past and can help you learn how to manage the stress related to the memories of those events when they arise. Options for treatment can also help you to get sober and recover from a substance use disorder (SUD) developed by your unaddressed PTSD.
Lantana Recovery can help you discover the peace you are seeking. We work with you right where you are, mentally and emotionally. As a trauma-informed facility, here at Lantana Recovery, we can treat anyone struggling with PTSD and SUD. If you feel like you may be experiencing PTSD but are not sure where to start with getting help, we can help you.
PTSD is often associated with veterans. Because of this, the assumption is that only veterans have PTSD. However, that is quite far from reality. Anyone can experience trauma, and therefore, they can experience PTSD. When individuals are unaware of what they are experiencing or why, it can lead to more pain. Individuals who unknowingly have PTSD can also end up struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Education on trauma and PTSD is expanding, but there is still work that needs to be done. While the gap is being filled, treatment facilities like Lantana Recovery can help you treat your PTSD and addiction. Call us at (866) 997-2870 for more information.