This past year has been a tumultuous one. We’ve seen a lot of loss, isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty. We’ve seen many communities come together and also witnessed a lot of political strife. Everyone has responded differently to this experience, and there has been a wide-ranging impact on mental health. Many continue to experience symptoms long after the restrictions are lifted and life resumes to pre-COVID times.

Just a few examples of people who’ve experienced a lot of stress and trauma during the pandemic, which could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are:

  • Healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients

  • People who have had COVID and are still suffering from symptoms

  • People who have lost loved ones

  • People who are at higher risk for complications from COVID

  • People who lost their job and are struggling financially

Is it PTSD or something else?

To determine if you have PTSD, you need to be diagnosed by a professional therapist or clinician. Many people have milder forms of PTSD which don’t typically affect their daily life. However, severe cases can impede a person’s ability to perform the most basic day-to-day activities.

Symptoms of PTSD usually develop soon after experiencing a traumatic event, although sometimes they can take a few months to appear. They can include:

  • Intrusive memories, such as reliving an experience or having nightmares

  • Avoidance of places that may trigger a memory of a traumatic event

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.

Even if you’re not experiencing classic symptoms of PTSD, if you’re constantly anxious or depressed and find yourself not wanting to do anything, that’s a clear sign that you need to seek treatment before your symptoms worsen.

Who is at risk of developing PTSD?

No one is immune from post-traumatic stress disorder, but some factors could put you at higher risk, such as

  • Experiencing or witnessing lasting trauma such as childhood abuse or domestic violence

  • Having a career that increases your chance of exposure to traumatic events, such as first responders or military personnel

  • A personal or family history of other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression

  • Having a substance use disorder, such as excessive alcohol or drug use

  • Not having a stable support system of friends and family

Coping with PTSD symptoms

After experiencing trauma, many people have PTSD-like symptoms such as fear, anxiety, guilt, and depression- all of which are common reactions to trauma. However, not all will develop long-term PTSD.

Being proactive and seeking treatment and support can prevent normal stress reactions from getting worse and developing into full-blown PTSD. Whether it be from family, friends, or a professional, support from others may also help prevent people from turning to unhealthy coping methods such as alcohol or drugs.

If you’re having symptoms of PTSD, call Serene Health at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment. We have late evening and weekend appointments available via our unique telehealth app so that you can speak to a therapist from the comfort of your own home.