Victims of war, traumatic life events, unexpected deaths in the family, serious illness, or significant injury can all cause PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can have profound and long-lasting effects on an individual’s life. While there are treatments available, many people who have PTSD go untreated.
When PTSD is left untreated, a person's internal world is greatly affected. Their self-image, view of life's experiences, and quality of life are all impacted by their PTSD. It also has the potential to affect the people around them, so the quality of the lives of those closest to them and any acquaintances of theirs are affected, too.
In addition, whenever a person with untreated PTSD encounters a situation that triggers the past or experiences a trauma response, it ingrains in them even deeper. It keeps wiring them to react with nervousness, anxiety, or retreat–whichever coping mechanism they use. So, instead of their PTSD symptoms decreasing over time, as they would wish to see, their symptoms can actually increase.
In light of world events, this blog will review what exactly PTSD is, the challenges if PTSD is left untreated, and why seeking help is crucial.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health condition that can develop after a traumatic event. Treatments for PTSD can include psychotherapy (talk therapy) and body work done in tandem. This helps to get rid of the automatic reflexive reaction to stimuli.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Vivid flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening right now)
- Negative thoughts and beliefs
- Intrusive thoughts or images
- Intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
- Physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea, or trembling
While PTSD can present in many different ways depending on the person and the traumatic event, it is most common for individuals to relive the experience through flashbacks, intrusive memories, or nightmares. The emotions can feel incredibly overwhelming and cause the person to be unable to feel emotions or feel “numb.”
Effects of Untreated PTSD
Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a range of negative consequences on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Some potential effects include:
- Increased Severity: PTSD symptoms often worsen over time if left untreated, making it more challenging to address in the future.
- Impaired Quality of Life: Individuals with untreated PTSD may experience a lower quality of life due to ongoing distress, nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety.
- Risk of Self-Harm: Some people with untreated PTSD may engage in self-destructive behaviors or even have thoughts of self-harm.
- Relationship Problems: PTSD can strain relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners, leading to isolation and social difficulties.
- Occupational Issues: Concentration difficulties, irritability, and emotional instability can impact one’s ability to work or be a student, potentially leading to job loss or failing grades.
- Substance Abuse: Some individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, leading to addiction and further complications.
- Physical Health Problems: Chronic stress from untreated PTSD can contribute to physical health issues like heart problems, chronic pain, and sleep disturbances.
- Aggravation of Mental Health Disorders: Individuals with untreated PTSD may be at higher risk of developing other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety disorders.
- Legal Problems: Behaviors of untreated PTSD, such as anger or recklessness, can lead to legal troubles.
- Reduced Resilience: Untreated PTSD can make individuals less resilient when facing new stressors or traumatic events.
Seeking Help for PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be triggered by a number of life circumstances. No matter your situation, it is vital to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD. BLOOM offers ways to decrerase automatic reactions that are caused by PTSD. Our courses address common challenges of PTSD such as automatic anger, aggression, shut down, fear, phobias, stress and more.
While PTSD can be a challenging and potentially debilitating condition, it is not a life sentence. Effective treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication, and body work can help individuals reduce the automatic responses and regain control of their lives. It’s important to remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a brave and necessary step towards healing. Untreated PTSD can have devastating consequences, but with the proper support, recovery is possible, and a brighter future can be within reach.
BLOOM exists to support you at your greatest point of need. If you or someone you know is experiencing the effects of stress, anxiety, trauma, or PTSD, it’s essential to seek help. We offer flexible, online courses that you can access from the comfort of your home on the topics of Anxiety, Aggression, Fear, Anxiety Stress, and Phobia, and more. Discover all of our course topics here.