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Exploring Myths About PTSD

Common myths about PTSD include that only veterans or first responders develop the mental health condition and that everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as violence, combat, abuse, assault, accidents, or natural disasters.

Unfortunately, stigma still surrounds mental health conditions, and uneducated people believe well-established myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions that surround PTSD. Being open to obtaining an education about mental health conditions allows people to leave the stigma behind and know the facts. 

Veterans Are the Only Ones Suffering from PTSD

Understandably, people would believe that only veterans experience PTSD. After all, what is worse than experiencing war or combat? While a high percentage of military personnel and first responders experience life-altering events and develop PTSD, they are not the only people who develop this condition.

The government works diligently to educate veterans about the debilitating effects of PTSD to implore them to seek help if they have symptoms, and this may spur misconceptions. Similarly, police departments and fire departments urge their employees who experience traumatic situations to seek counseling when PTSD symptoms appear.

PTSD Transforms Into Other Mental Health Conditions

Among the many PTSD misconceptions is the thought that PTSD can transform into other mental health conditions. The idea that “PTSD transforms in other conditions” is on the list of common myths about PTSD.

It is common for co-occurring mental health conditions to exist with PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, and phobia. Many people experiencing PTSD symptoms may also have a substance use disorder and receive a dual diagnosis, as using drugs or alcohol is sometimes a coping mechanism for uncomfortable symptoms. 

People Can’t Hide or Mask PTSD Symptoms

Being able to differentiate between the myths and facts about PTSD helps to break the stigmas surrounding mental health conditions. In 2020, about 13 million people were diagnosed with PTSD, according to The National Center for PTSD.

A large percentage of people live with PTSD without a diagnosis or treatment and hide or mask their PTSD symptoms. Typically, people do not think of mental health conditions as a reason behind certain behaviors or thought processes. This lack of education reinforces PTSD stereotypes. 

Lack of Treatment for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very treatable mental health condition. Unfortunately, the common myths about PTSD prevent people who are experiencing symptoms from seeking help and treatment. The stigma surrounding mental health conditions breeds shame, guilt, and fear for those experiencing PTSD symptoms.

Despite the myths about PTSD, there are very effective treatments for PTSD and other mental health conditions people develop. 

The following treatment options are very effective for treating PTSD:

  • Psychotherapy includes trauma-informed therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical-behavioral therapy, and coping skills therapy.
  • Exposure therapy works through working with a therapist to expose themselves to fears related to their trauma. 
  • Medication can be a managing factor in severe symptoms through antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. 
  • Holistic therapies and lifestyle changes are very effective.
  • Support groups help in sharing experiences and forming a trusting bond with others who also have PTSD.

PTSD Isn’t A Common Condition

PTSD myths often expound on the fact that PTSD is not a common condition. However, indeed, most people who experience trauma do not develop PTSD. Research points to about 6 out of every 100 people in the US will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

Learning the facts about PTSD can end the myths about PTSD like many people never receive a diagnosis and recover without treatment. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, according to The National Center for PTSD, and veterans are more likely to develop PTSD than civilians. 

Having PTSD Makes Someone Unstable

PTSD misconceptions often lead to harmful accusations toward those with PTSD. Misconceptions such as those with PTSD are dangerous, violent, and not normal can add to the shame, guilt, and fear those with the diagnosis are already feeling.

The fact is that people with PTSD often hide their symptoms and appear normal to the outside world. Those who are not familiar with the symptoms of PTSD could hold on to harmful myths and need to work towards an education in mental health conditions. 

PTSD Is for Weak People

Some PTSD stereotypes point to people who have PTSD as being weak or flawed in some way. Mental health conditions result from many factors, such as environmental, social, and biological reasons. PTSD is a natural human response to the experience of trauma or a life-altering event. There are risk factors that may contribute to the chance of developing PTSD. 

The following risk factors may influence the likelihood of developing PTSD:

  • The severity of the traumatic experience
  • Existing neurobiology or presence of other mental health conditions
  • Supportive networks, or lack of 
  • Duration of trauma and number of traumas

Talking About or Getting Treatment for PTSD Isn’t Effective

Myths and facts about PTSD can influence a person’s decision to seek treatment for PTSD. Many people honestly believe that nothing can help their symptoms. Many people who have a family history of mental health conditions may adopt the belief that treatments are ineffective.

Breaking the stigma is essential to ending these false beliefs and educating the public. Treatment centers include treatment for mental health in their programs to add whole-body care for a successful recovery. 

Get Quality PTSD Support

Today is the day to leave the myths and misconceptions about PTSD behind and move forward for positive progress in recovery. Tennessee Valley Recovery understands dual diagnosis and how including whole-person treatment is successful in recovery. The center offers treatment programs for mental health as well as substance use disorders.

Contact their informative staff today to get the best understanding of how they can help.