Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that someone can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. And while some may experience trauma and heal with time, those with PTSD can continue to experience worsening, progressive symptoms that affect every area of their life.
Seeking professional help is crucial for healing from PTSD and regaining your life. Here is what you need to know about untreated PTSD and why now is the time to start your recovery journey.
How PTSD Can Affect You If Left Untreated
If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a car accident, or an act violence, PTSD occurs when your brain fails to perceive that experience as being in the past. You may feel anxious and hypervigilant, have frequent flashbacks or nightmares, struggle to sleep or connect with others, and feel constantly on-edge, distrustful, or ashamed.
And while these symptoms alone can be difficult to deal with, it is common for PTSD to contribute other issues including:
- Chronic depression
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Intense anxiety or panic attacks
- Substance abuse disorders
- Poor work or school performance
- Sexual dysfunction
- Relationship issues and social withdrawal
- Intensified PTSD symptoms
How a Mental Health Provide Can Help With PTSD
Whether you’ve recently experienced a trauma, are just starting to show symptoms of PTSD, or have been living with PTSD symptoms for quite some time, a therapist can help you process your traumatic memories, reduce reactions to trauma triggers, and manage harmful symptoms and outcomes of PTSD. Your treatment might include:
- Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) to help you become exposed to your traumatic memories and process them in a safe environment
- Psychiatric care (or behavioral health medication) may help regulate your mood, help you sleep, reduce anxiety, and help you cope with severe depression
- Specialized therapies, like EMDR or music therapy, can provide unique, evidence-based treatment to help you relieve troubling symptoms