Telling the difference between anxiety and PTSD
Enduring or witnessing a traumatic event can have a very harmful effect on a person’s mental health. Many people have a short-term reaction to a terrible incident, but some experience long-term symptoms that don’t ease over time. These people may be diagnosed with
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric disorder that can affect a person’s mental and physical health.
What causes PTSD?
PTSD may be triggered by something that happened to you, to someone close to you, or something that you witnessed. It can occur through events such as:
- A serious accident.
- Natural disasters.
- Manmade tragedies, like a terrorist attack or a shooting.
- A violent personal attack.
- Abuse that occurred in childhood or as an adult.
- Military combat.
It’s normal to experience anxiety after such an event, and often it eases and eventually goes away after time. But for those with PTSD, the anxiety is far more intense and keeps coming back to the surface. The trauma of the event is also relived again and again through nightmares, intrusive memories, or flashbacks.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Those struggling with PTSD may experience difficulties for more than a month. The symptoms may include:
- Intense memories, flashbacks, or nightmares.
- Feeling worried, fearful, or suspicious.
- Having a strong reaction when reminded of the trauma.
- Intrusive thoughts about violence or death.
- Feeling disconnected or isolated, as if you’re not yourself.
- A loss of interest in things you once enjoyed.
- Feeling agitated, tense, on edge.
- Bursts of anger or irritation.
- Problems focusing on the present.
- Trouble falling or staying asleep.
How to help someone with PTSD
If you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD symptoms, help is available. Workpartners® employee assistance program (EAP) offers care managers who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you find the resources you need. To learn about all the programs and services Workpartners’ EAP offers, you can call us at 1-866-229-3507, or visit our resource pages.