How to Tell If You Have Pandemic-Related PTSD

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The last few years have been incredibly stressful for all of us. Out of concerns about health and safety, to dealing with death or illness from friends and family, financial hardship due to job loss, or constant school closures and childcare disruptions, life has was a non-stop scootercoasters from stress and worry. As resultsSome people even can dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by everyone the stressors.

“Usually when you’re traumatized, something comes your way that makes your body fight, flee, or freeze mode, but with COVID it’s an invisible threat,” said Stephanie Stathas, a Licensed Professional Advisor at Thrivewho specializes in treating trauma. In recent years, Stathas has seen a surge in people seeking treatment, many with trauma-related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and sleep disorders.

Chronic stress can cause PTSD symptoms

PTSD tends to develop in the weeks following a traumatic event, although sometimes it can show up months or years later. Symptoms include hyper-Alertness, emotional avoidance or numbness, flashbacks, nightmares, irritability, anxiety, depression and may also include physical symptoms, such as headache, dizziness or abdominal pain.

Although we usually imagine PTSD developing after a specific traumatic event, such as B. surviving a car accident or a violent attack, people can also develop the condition after being repeatedly exposed to stressful or traumatic events. If the traumatic events continued and there was no means of escape, this can result in what comes to be known as complex PTSD, who has symptoms similar to PTSD but also feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness; a decreased ability to regulate emotions; and problems with forming and maintaining healthy relationships. “It’s not just one incident anymore, now you have all of these incidents, and all of that combined makes it a complex PTSD,” Stathas said.

Complex PTSD often develops in people who grew up in abusive environments, were in an abusive relationship as adults, or experienced another similar, prolonged period of stress they couldn’t escape. Given the pervasive nature of the pandemic, the symptoms people are struggling with are often the result of chronic stress.

However, as experts are beginning to point out, the Pandemic is unique stressor the will have its own pattern of trauma-related symptoms. Some experts have already coined the term COVID stress syndromewhich includes fear about an infection, fear on the financial impact of the pandemic; fear from others who may be infected; compulsive review and search for validation; and other associated with stress symptoms to the pandemic.

As Stathas points out, it’s the uncertainty and unpredictability the last few years it was incredibly stressful. “All these changes, all the time, just transition into these feelings of helplessness and powerlessness over something, and that’s difficult,” Stathas said. “Just having a sense of control over something can make us feel better, but going through two years without it is scary.”

What to do if you suffer from PTSD

When the stressors of the last few years have reached a point where it has a negative effect in your personal relationships, on your physical health and well-being, or on your overall emotional state, It is important to seek help sooner rather than later.

“Whenever it catches up with you and you don’t know why, look at what you haven’t addressed, what isn’t resolved,” Stathas said. “It will catch up. I see that all the time.”

In general, it’s a good idea to see someone who is trained in treating trauma, e.g there are different treatment options. some of the more Common forms of therapy for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, or eyes mimprovement dsensitization and rEditing (EMDR) therapy.

Depending on your preferences, one type may work better than another. Many therapists are trained in several types and can adapt strategies of each to your needs. “There’s no shame in going into therapy,” Stathas said. “It’s no different than going to a doctor to take care of your medical well-being. Mental health and well-being are just as important.”

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