Stress after Traumatic Events
Lingering stress after traumatic events is most commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Though PTSD is most often associated with veterans returning home from wars, anybody can suffer from the mental illness.
Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include things like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a car accident or a major illness. Any event that causes severe trauma to a person (which could be physical or emotional trauma) can cause PTSD in that person.
PTSD is characterized by persistent stress that lasts more than a month following the traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks and nightmares, as well as avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic experience. For example, a person suffering from PTSD from a devastating hurricane may avoid being outside when it rains.
Other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, feeling tense, being startled easily and loss of interest in fun activities. Ultimately, what makes PTSD different from normal stress following a traumatic experience is that the person has a difficult time functioning and they experience a disruption in their daily lives.
Overcoming PTSD requires a diagnosis and treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Mental health professionals can help treat the illness through medications and/or therapy.
It is important to note that not all stress after trauma is considered PTSD. Most people experience stress after traumatic events, but it goes away in a reasonable amount of time and does not develop into PTSD.
This normal stress does not require treatment from a mental health professional. Ways to cope with normal stress after a traumatic event include asking for support from family and friends, talking about the experience with trusted individuals, practicing self-care and acknowledging your emotions.
Stress after traumatic events is normal, and there are ways to overcome it. But, if you find that the stress is not going away and is negatively impacting your daily life, then you may suffer from PTSD. PTSD can be difficult to cope with, but with treatment, it can be overcome.