June 14, 2012

Understanding PTSD

We are all concerned about mental health and a condition called PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) has finally started getting the attention it deserves. Although PTSD can be the result of any sort of trauma at any age, it has become a huge issue for our returning vets. According to if you or your loved one is effected, certain symptoms will begin to show up, usually early on, but may be delayed. 

As a counselor/therapist I know there is help, I know of those who have found relief through talk therapy as well as a variety of therapy techniques. I am trained in many different therapy modalities which can help those who are suffering from trauma.

Now is the time to put a spotlight on this issue, to take away any shame or guilt one may feel which prevents them from getting help. PTSD effects whole families, not just one person. Children, wives, family members are all effected by this issue.

Because of this I decided to make June and July about awareness and helping others seek help.


Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like:

• Combat exposure

• Child sexual or physical abuse

• Terrorist attack

• Sexual or physical assault

• Serious accidents, like a car wreck

   Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake

During a traumatic event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening around you. Most people have some stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; but, not everyone gets PTSD. If your reactions don’t go away over time and they disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.

Here is what the National Center for PTSD lists as signs and symptoms of PTSD for the Vet, (however all of these symptoms and signs can be part of any PTSD, whether in combat or at home).


PTSD Symptoms vary A LOT.  This is not a complete list (truthfully, I don’t think a

“complete” list exists).  But, it will hopefully give you an idea of some of the indications that 

you (or your vet) may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Please note - 

for “most” people, symptoms begin within three months after a traumatic event.  However, 

there have been plenty of cases were PTSD doesn’t start showing up until years later.

Psychological Symptoms of PTSD

• Depression (not enjoying, looking forward to, or being excited about anything)

• Anxiety (you worry about everything, or a lot of things you never even considered 


• Guilt (sometimes called “survivor’s guilt” - you feel guilty that you weren’t killed or 

injured, but your buddies were)

• Avoidance / Lack of Emotion (avoiding any situation that would normally cause an 

emotional reaction or simply not responding at all to emotional situations)

 Intrusive Thoughts (thinking about, or having “flashbacks” of combat, etc., situations 

even when you try not to)

• Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually there)

Behavioral Symptoms of PTSD

• Extreme Rage (anger over things that would not have bothered you in the past)

• Short Fuse (going from relaxed to extremely pissed off in a matter of seconds)

• Isolating Yourself (not wanting to share thoughts, feelings, or emotions with anyone -

also may show up as not wanting to be physically close to anyone)

• Alcohol or Drug Abuse (often called “self medicating” - basically you’re using alcohol 

or drugs to cover up the things you don’t want to face)

• Always Being on Guard (you constantly scan crowds, traffic, etc., for possible threats)

• Feeling Numb (not feeling or feeling very little about the people or activities around 


• Memory Problems (you find yourself losing your car keys, not remembering 

conversations, not being able to recall your phone number)

• Lack of Concentration (being unable to concentrate on work, hobbies, etc.)

• Nightmares (this is very common among many vets)

• Unable to Sleep or Stay Asleep (taking only “cat naps”; lying awake for hours, 

despite being exhausted; getting up frequently to check your home, family, etc.)

• Being Easily Startled (most often in response to loud noises that are similar to 

explosions, gun fire, etc. - like a car back firing, a balloon popping, or a fireworks 


• Low Self Esteem

• Feeling Hopeless About the Future

• Not wanting to see or hear anything that reminds you of your time in Iraq or Afghanistan

• Lack of Appetite

• Overeating

Physical Symptoms of PTSD

• Headaches

• Rapid Heart Rate or Sweating when reminded of the traumatic event(s)

For a more detailed explanation of the symptoms of PTSD, read our article 

entitled PTSD Symptoms: Clinical vs. Real World Terms. At -

Here are more websites for you on the subject of PTSD


Adult Children of Alcoholics - Laundry List of Traits

January 7, 2012
Adult Children of Alcoholics - Laundry List of Traits

Adult Children of Alcoholics - Laundry List of Traits:

January 6, 2012

The ACA Laundry list contains traits of ACA or people from dysfunctional families. Every person does not typically have all of the traits listed, but, most people have quite a few. (Click on the link above for the complete ACA Laundry List.)

                Growing up in a family where the parents use alcohol or drugs to excess can give children a confusing childhood. They experience loud arguments. They may be physically abused or see it happen to the parent who is not abusing substances. Sometimes they witness their siblings being abused.

                It’s hard to make sense out of all of this as a child. Many Adult Children of Alcoholics have rationalized it by believing the bad behavior they witness or experience is normal. They then may go out into the world and connect with people who are abusive like their abusive parent. This is continuing a cycle that is unhealthy and can ruin their lives.

                Looking at the Laundry List and acknowledging those traits they have is a first step in the healing process. Knowledge is power, so Adult Children can begin this process by understanding where they may be in this cycle.


Blog Archive


Make a free website with Yola