Trauma Resurfacing: Identifying and Treating PTSD

Trauma is sometimes an inescapable circumstance in our lives. On average, 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women are likely to experience trauma in their lives. PTSD, also known as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a unique medical condition where individuals often re-experience a terrifying or traumatic event. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD; however, some factors could increase your risk for developing PTSD. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about 12 million people in the U.S. have PTSD in a given year. Although common, many people with PTSD remain undiagnosed. Learning how to spot the signs of PTSD is often the first step in finding treatment.

Anyone can develop PTSD because anyone can experience trauma. Some studies show that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD. In fact, eight percent of women are diagnosed with PTSD as opposed to four percent of men, most likely due to the rates of sexual abuse and assault among women. Nevertheless, any terrifying event could lead to PTSD including car accidents, the sudden death of a loved one, war and combat, or even a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake.

Symptoms of PTSD differ from person to person. The most common symptom of PTSD is re-experiencing a traumatic event. Certain smells, sounds, sights, or even thoughts can be triggers, which pull someone suffering from PTSD back in time. Those who experience PTSD often describe themselves as feeling “stuck,” unable to move on from the trauma in their lives. They also may experience nightmares, feelings of disassociation (having an out-of-body experience), negative changes in thinking or mood, isolation, and more. Some symptoms could pose a greater risk to those suffering from PTSD. If you experience depression, anxiety, or hypervigilance (feeling like you need to be on guard at all times), you may want to speak to a trained mental health professional.

For many, PTSD can be sorted out without lots of help from others. Our minds naturally want to process unwanted situations or underappreciated circumstances. However, in some cases, PTSD will persist and can lead to suicide, depression, and maladaptive coping skills. This condition may lead people to adopt certain unhealthy addictions and behaviors to manage their symptoms including gambling and substance abuse.

“The number one thing to remember is that you are not alone,” said licensed clinical social worker, Sherrard Marrow of TPMG Behavioral Health. “If you’re stuck or suffering from PTSD, just know that there is adequate and appropriate help out there for you.”

To put it in simple terms, PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event. It’s important to realize that this is a natural process and may take time to heal. PTSD is not a sign of weakness. For many, recovery from PTSD can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving function and one’s quality of life. Improvement may take time, and finding support and managing PTSD will look different for each person. We don’t always process trauma in the same way. For some, they may need the kind words or quiet support of friends and family. Others might benefit from seeking out a mental health professional like those at TPMG Behavioral Health for a brief course of therapy. PTSD isn’t something that should be ignored. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, consider reaching out for help today.

Sherrard Marrow

About Sherrard Marrow, LCSW, CCTP

Sherrard Marrow, LCSW, CCTP is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in mental health illnesses, substance abuse, and emotional disorders. As a behavioral therapist, Sherrard uses his varied experience to provide inpatient interdisciplinary treatment, crisis counseling, substance abuse counseling, and treat individuals suffering from trauma, anxiety, and depression. Through his knowledge of psychosocial functioning, he integrates therapeutic interventions using evidence-based practices. Sherrard primarily works with adolescents and adults and has a special interest in treating trauma and substance abuse cases.

Sherrard joined TPMG Behavioral Health in Newport News in 2021.

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