City Care Family Practice, located in the Lower Midtown area of Manhattan, is a community-focused medical practice whose expertly trained providers concentrate on all aspects of your well-being, including your mental health.
Our team is happy to help clear up some of the misconceptions regarding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a surprisingly common mental health condition that affects millions of Americans.
Myth: PTSD only affects military veterans
PTSD can occur in any individual of any age. It is associated with the trauma of war but often develops in individuals who experience or witness the effects of a natural disaster, serious automobile accident, or other frightening occurrence.
People threatened with death or serious injury such as victims of a robbery, child abuse, or sexual assault can also develop PTSD.
Myth: Flashbacks always occur with PTSD
Not everyone with PTSD relives their experience through flashbacks, which can cause you to feel and respond as if the trauma is happening again.
Your PTSD symptoms may include:
- Frequent dreams or nightmares
- Emotional distress related to an object or event that reminds you of the trauma
- Avoiding family, friends, or hobbies you once enjoyed
- Startling excessively at sounds such as a door slamming or horn blaring in traffic
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to quit thinking about the event(s)
- Persistent feeling of imminent danger or harm
- Angry outbursts over relatively minor issues such as long lines at the store
- Difficulty relaxing
- Feeling emotionally flat
PTSD affects everyone differently. Your symptoms may worsen over time or flare up periodically during increased stress at home or work. Sometimes a movie, commercial, or newscast can trigger symptoms.
Myth: PTSD goes away if you ignore it
Essentially “normal” reactions to trauma or violence, such as sorrow, fear, and a sense of vulnerability, generally fade within several weeks of the event(s).
PTSD, however, can last for months to years. The changes it causes in your personality, behavior, and hope for the future can have life-long consequences. Unfortunately, ignoring PTSD tends to worsen its effects.
Many individuals with PTSD are also at increased risk of developing other concerning mental health disorders, including:
- Anxiety disorder
- Alcohol or drug abuse disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Regardless of whether your symptoms are related to events that occurred recently or many years ago, treatment for PTSD can help.
Myth: Treatment for PTSD rarely works
We typically recommend a combination of therapy, lifestyle changes such as improved nutrition and exercise, and medications to help relieve your symptoms.
Therapy, for instance, focuses on helping you identify negative thought patterns and behaviors and developing strategies for countering their effects. Medications can help stop the cascading emotional and physical effects of your brain’s response to stress and fear related to PTSD.
At City Care Family Practice, we can help to diagnose PTSD and facilitate your treatment with a psychiatrist. Our mental health services also provide a safe and comfortable space to discuss the effects of more recent trauma or violence you’ve experienced, which may help prevent PTSD.
For outstanding physical and mental health care that’s focused on your individual needs, schedule a visit at City Care Family Practice today. Call the office or book your appointment online.