The brain is a very complex organ that even scientists and medical professionals don’t fully understand. So it’s reasonable that there are misunderstandings when it comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Even people who are struggling with symptoms have a hard time understanding what is wrong. But oftentimes, the misunderstandings that so many people have about the disorder prevent people with PTSD from feeling comfortable or safe seeking treatment. Until we are able to have meaningful conversations about the disorder, how it affects people, and methods of treatment, these hurtful stereotypes will continue to hinder people from accepting the legitimacy of the disorder.
Dr. Andy Brown has been helping patients get the PTSD treatment they need to live well-adjusted lives through therapy and counseling and innovative methods like EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Dr. Brown is also passionate about presenting and publishing research projects and papers, and teaching in order to help everyone understand the complexities of the disorder. For anyone struggling with symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Brown for an appointment. Andy has an extensive background in both psychology and psychotherapy and strives to create an environment that is welcoming and educational so that patients are able to have a deeper understanding of the disorder and how to overcome the symptoms.
Biggest Misconceptions Surrounding PTSD
Only Veterans Get PTSD
Even though there are a significant number of veterans who are facing symptoms of PTSD, they are far from the only group of people who can experience traumatic events that cause physiological changes to their brain and body. Adults who suffered abuse as children, if anyone suddenly lost a loved one, were in a car accident, or even seemingly harmless events like being laughed at in school as a child can have lasting effects and may be diagnosed as PTSD. Visit a previous blog, Understanding PTSD and its Symptoms, to learn more about how our brains are affected by traumatic events and how anyone can be diagnosed with the disorder and may require PTSD treatment.
People With PTSD Are Dangerous
Hollywood films and TV shows often portray people with PTSD incorrectly, perpetuating the idea that people with the disorder are dangerous. A common scene is when someone is triggered by something someone says or a flashback memory and they lash out in anger or violence. Hypersensitivity is a common symptom and can cause people to become easily irritated, but it doesn’t necessarily mean dangerous. More common symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, isolation, depression, or wanting to avoid certain places or people.
They Should be Able to Get Over It
Many people experience traumatic events throughout their lives but do not develop PTSD. It can be difficult for people to understand that trauma affects everyone differently. So when people who have experienced trauma themselves find that someone else is unable to function or live life as they had before the event, they simply think they “just need to get over it.” However, for anyone diagnosed with the disorder, it can take months or even years of PTSD treatment for symptoms to subside.
It’s a Sign of Mental Weakness
Society puts out a strong impression that anyone who suffers from depression or PTSD is just weak and if only they were stronger they wouldn’t have such a hard time with it, that they should be able to get over it, like we mentioned above. However, someone who develops PTSD may be wired, or genetically predisposed, to the disorder. This may be similar to when people are at a higher risk of heart disease due to their genetic makeup. People can also develop PTSD if the trauma was extreme or if the event lasted for a long time. It’s key to understand that the brain undergoes significant neurological changes when someone experiences trauma that develops into PTSD. Mental weakness does not cause PTSD.
Symptoms Appear Right Away
This myth may be a reason why people have such a challenging time understanding the disorder. Like we said before, trauma affects people differently and symptoms can develop at different times. While symptoms generally appear within a few months of the event, they can also begin to appear years after, or even come and go intermittently. This also makes it challenging for people to recognize symptoms in themselves. When trauma occurs as a child and symptoms appear as an adult, they may not associate the symptoms with the trauma. PTSD may be diagnosed when multiple symptoms last for more than a month.
There Isn’t a Treatment
While it’s true that there isn’t a cure, there are several forms of PTSD treatment, including talk therapy, behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, EMDR, as well as medications to treat depression and other symptoms. Mental illnesses, because they aren’t physical injuries that can be seen, are hard for people to grasp and understand. PTSD treatment can also take months, years, or may even require ongoing therapy, but these methods are known to be successful.
PTSD is a condition that many people have a hard time understanding, and there are several myths that tend to be bolstered by the media or Hollywood. However, as society begins to warm up to the idea that treatment for mental illness is successful, and as more and more people with the disorder are seeking treatment, the myths are slowly dying down.
If you experienced a traumatic event at any point in your life, and if you are struggling with symptoms, Dr. Andy Brown can provide the support, guidance, and PTSD treatment you need to begin living a high-quality life again. It’s often the hardest part, but seeking help is the first step to recovery and it is possible with the right treatment method for your specific symptoms and needs. Contact Dr. Andy Brown today for an appointment.