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When to Get Help for PTSD

Are you wondering if it’s time to get help for PTSD?

PTSD affects the primal part of the brain. You can’t reason your way out of it. If you think you have PTSD, the time to get help processing trauma is now.

What it is

Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as combat, violence, assault, a natural disaster, or a serious accident.

Trained to be tough

Service members are trained to be tough. It’s a survival skill in combat, and it is a key element of military culture. However, for veterans suffering the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, hanging on to the military mindset can ruin their lives.

You can’t reason your way out of a tiger attack

Because PTSD occurs in the primal part of the brain, it isn’t something you can tough out or wait out or fix on your own. This part of the brain does not respond to logic. One doctor said that trying to talk yourself out of PTSD is like trying to reason with a tiger that’s about to attack you. No matter how tough you are, it won’t work. You have to get your whole brain to work together again.

Symptoms

PTSD symptoms can show up immediately after a traumatic event, or they can surface months (or even years) later. They can include:

  • Involuntary flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intense sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger or rage
  • Detachment
  • Distorted beliefs
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Depression
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pounding heart
  • Nausea
  • Headaches, backaches, joint pain, or other physical pain


Why PTSD happens

The part of the brain that is affected by trauma is constantly sorting experiences into one of two buckets: agreeable or disagreeable. Every experience that is “agreeable” is passed to part of the brain for storage. Every experience that is “disagreeable” is passed to a different part of the brain for processing, understanding, and adapting into life experience before it is moves to storage.

PTSD happens because an experience is “stuck” in the primal brain. The parts of the brain that are meant to make sense of bad experiences haven’t processed it.

Overcoming PTSD

Because you can’t reason with the primal part of the brain, most mental health clinicians advocate a three-part approach that involves helping a person develop the skills needed to deal with the body’s physical reactions to traumatic memories. This process is geared at getting the whole brain to working together again so the logical part of the brain can take part in processing, adapting, and reacting to the memory.

Alternative therapies like yoga and meditation have been effective at treating PTSD because they require the entire brain to take a deep breath when under stress.

There is no one magic bullet, and everyone’s experience is different. The good news is you can heal from PTSD. We have over 3,000 resources that can help you find your way to understanding your experiences, coping with the challenges and stresses of daily life, and ultimately finding your way back to enjoying life.

Overcoming PTSD is not about how strong or tough you are. You can’t fight the survival instincts hardwired into your brain.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, now is the time to get help. We’re here to help you move forward. Reach out to us today.


Stop Soldier Suicide is not a crisis center. We are not mental health professionals and do not provide direct clinical services.

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Stop Soldier Suicide provides support and resources to all past and present military and their families. We do not provide direct clinical services or therapy, nor are we a crisis center.