How PTSD Can Negatively Impact Your Life
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How PTSD Can Negatively Impact Your Life

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a condition that occurs in around twenty percent of people who experience or witness a traumatic event. A traumatic event can be anything that feels shocking, dangerous, terrifying, life-threatening, or life-changing.

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PTSD Can Negatively Impact Your Life

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a condition that occurs in around twenty percent of people who experience or witness a traumatic event. A traumatic event can be anything that feels shocking, dangerous, terrifying, life-threatening, or life-changing.

While over 500,000 Vietnam vets and close to fifteen percent of military men and women returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan present with symptoms of PTSD, a person does not have to have been in a war zone to experience trauma. A bad car accident, a physical altercation, being a victim of abuse, witnessing a terrorist attack, even the sudden loss of a friend or loved one can cause PTSD.

People diagnosed with PTSD have long-lasting, intense feelings, complex and disturbing thoughts related to their trauma. These feelings and thoughts extend well beyond the initial period of trauma and can significantly negatively affect a person's day-to-day life. Let's talk about some of the negative impacts PTSD can have on your life.

PTSD Can Effect How You Live and Where You Go

Some of the most challenging Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms are flashbacks and panic attacks that many people suffer from after a trauma. These symptoms can be debilitating, and avoiding situations that trigger them can become a common coping mechanism.

For instance, If your trauma occurred in a specific setting, you may avoid locations that feel, sound, or look similar. This may mean relocating to a new home or even a new city. Or, if your trauma stems from a car accident or a roadside bombing, you may begin to actively avoid traveling in cars or trucks, especially during periods of heavy traffic. This may impact how or if you're able to commute — which can take a significant toll on your ability to provide for yourself and your family.

PTSD Can Lead to Substance Abuse Problems

Close to thirty percent of veterans diagnosed with PTSD through the VA are also battling substance abuse issues. People diagnosed with PTSD and seeking treatment are nearly fifteen times more likely to be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder than those without PTSD.

Addiction and PTSD affect brain chemistry in very similar ways. After major trauma, your brain may begin producing fewer endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals that make you happy. Addictive substances activate the brain's reward systems and release dopamine and endorphins. This quick release of feel-good chemicals becomes a way to self-medicate through many of the negative symptoms of PTSD. Additionally, drugs and alcohol can serve to numb the overactive senses of those who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD Can Change Your Relationships With Your Loved Ones

When you have PTSD, it can reverberate through those around you. Research has shown that Vietnam veterans as a whole had increased instances of marital discord and familial violence. This is because PTSD can make you feel different from those around you. In turn, these feelings may cause you to distance yourself from your family and friends. At the same time, your friends and family can feel frustrated or overwhelmed by not knowing how to help you. This can cause changes in your relationships.


Despite all the negative impacts PTSD can have on your life, both you and your support network need to know that there is always hope for recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder. Neither you nor your loved ones should bear the weight of PTSD alone. You are not a burden, and your symptoms do not define you. There are counselors, advocates, and even PTSD Lawyers that can work with you and your family to help you deal with your PTSD symptoms.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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