PTSD develops after a traumatic experience. This can be physical, emotional, or mental. PTSD and drug addiction often go hand in hand. In fact, nearly half of people with PTSD also have a substance use disorder. Twice as many women as men develop PTSD. This makes it important to understand the signs of PTSD in women.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. When you experience or witness a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel anxious or upset for a few weeks afterward. With PTSD, those initial symptoms don’t fade away over time. Your mind and body frequently enter a state of high alert, similar to experiencing the event itself. PTSD can occur from a one-time event, or a series of traumatic situations.
Basic Signs of PTSD
The basic categories of PTSD symptoms are the same for both genders, but specific symptoms will be different for women and men. A PTSD diagnosis requires symptoms from all four categories. To be classified as having PTSD, you must experience symptoms for more than one month, and they must interfere with your daily life. This will likely require you to find a trauma therapy program.
The basic categories of PTSD symptoms are:
- 1 or more intrusion symptoms (reliving the event)
- 1 or more avoidance symptoms (avoiding similar situations or triggers)
- 2 or more cognition and mood symptoms (depression, num
- 2 or more arousal and reactivity symptoms
Signs of PTSD in Women
Signs of PTSD in women include:
- Intrusion (flashbacks, nightmares)
- Avoidance (avoiding similar situations or triggers)
- Cognition and mood (depression, numbness)
- Arousal and reactivity (anxiety, nervousness, jumpy)
Intrusion and Avoidance
Intrusion is one of the common signs of PTSD in women. It can present as unwanted thoughts related to the traumatic event, negative self-talk, nightmares, and flashbacks. Often, avoidance is an attempt to cope with intrusion symptoms and avoid triggers.
Cognition and Arousal
Arousal and reactivity symptoms are often experienced as a more extreme reaction than is normal. An unexpected noise may cause you to jump and your heart to race. A violent movie can cause severe anxiety or depression. You may find yourself in a state of fight or flight frequently.
When a trigger is encountered, it brings thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma. These can be intense and cause feelings of anxiety or panic. You may flashback to the event and feel as if you are experiencing it again. Triggers can be sights, sounds, smells, and even thoughts.
Signs of PTSD in women can be overwhelming, yet many women don’t seek help right away. They dismiss it as being all in their head. The truth is that it is “in your head”, but it isn’t your imagination at work. When you develop PTSD, your brain doesn’t process the fact that the trauma is passed. Your brain believes you are in danger and reacts as if you were experiencing the trauma, even though you are in no immediate danger.
Get Mental Health Help from Serenity House Detox Houston
Signs of PTSD in women can lead to addiction in an attempt to self medicate. At Serenity House Detox in Houston, Texas, we know that detox is often the first step in recovery. Once you have overcome your physical dependence, you can begin working on the underlying causes of your addiction, including PTSD. We offer a number of detox programs to help your loved one get a clean start on their road to recovery. Some of these programs include:
- Alcohol detox center
- Heroin detox center
- Cocaine detox center
- Marijuana detox center
- Prescription drug detox
Do not wait to get help for an addiction. If you’re struggling with addiction, we can help. Contact Serenity House Detox Houston today at 866.516.8356.