Anyone can battle any kind of mental illness at any stage in life – mental illnesses, including substance use disorders, do not discriminate and can be seen affecting a number of people with various backgrounds.
PTSD is no exception; commonly associated with veterans due to the statistically high number of post-military men and women who struggle with PTSD, it can also be found plaguing people who have never spent time in the military at all.
What is PTSD?
According to the American Psychiatric Association: “Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, series of events or set of circumstances… Examples include natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist acts, war/combat, rape/sexual assault, historical trauma, intimate partner violence and bullying.”
Most of the time experiences of this sort affect one’s mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual well-being.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Intrusive memories – Symptoms of this sort include flashbacks, nightmares, unwanted vivid memories of the event and intense emotional responses to things that trigger memories of the event
- Avoidance, including intentionally staying away from people, places and situations which serve as reminders of the traumatic event(s)
- Being easily startled or always feeling on guard/on edge
- Feeling hopeless
- Having difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Struggling to find joy in things you once loved
- Experiencing memory loss, especially in regards to experiences surrounding the trauma
According to the DSM-5’s criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, in order to be diagnosed with PTSD, one or more of these symptoms need to be experienced for one month’s time following a traumatic situation.
How common is PTSD among veterans vs. non-veterans?
Statistically, veterans suffer more from PTSD than civilian adults due to the fact that the nature of their career is inherently more exposed to potentially traumatic situations than most adult’s careers. It has also been noted that symptoms of PTSD can increase with age, but most studies show that higher numbers surround the midlife years.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “Lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV PTSD was estimated cross-sectionally to be six percent in ages 18-29, eight percent in ages 30-44, nine percent in ages 45-59, and three percent in ages 60 and older” in civilian populations.
Looking at veteran populations from the same study, “Probable lifetime DSM-5 PTSD prevalence among U.S. Veterans was estimated cross-sectionally to be 29.3 percent in ages 18-29, 12.3 percent in ages 30-44, 11.5 percent in ages 45-59, and four percent in age 60 or older.”
This correlation of a higher prevalence of PTSD symptoms in midlife relies on a number of factors, including the difficulties of midlife years in general, and the greater availability of certain (unhealthy) coping mechanisms when younger.
Additionally, “Role changes and functional losses may make coping with memories of earlier trauma more challenging for the older adult. Such stressors include retirement, increased health problems, decreased sensory abilities, reduced income, loss of loved ones, decreased social support, cognitive impairment, and other stressors and causes of functional decline.”
Treatment for midlife PTSD
For many individuals, recovering from PTSD means seeking professional mental health treatment services. PTSD often co-occurs with other disorders like substance abuse and is usually best handled with professional care addressing both disorders simultaneously.
Trauma-informed treatment care is a more informed method of addiction treatment designed to address the consequences of trauma and addiction. Through this form of treatment, men and women, civilians and veterans, will learn how unaddressed trauma has impacted their quality of life overall and can begin taking intentional steps to rebalance their mental and physical health.
Getting help for PTSD today
Silver Ridge Recovery is a proud partner of the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN), which are pre-approved facilities that accept veteran benefits and TRICARE, giving veterans timely and convenient access to behavioral healthcare. Each facility in the Community Care Network (CNN) uses industry-standard practices to administer treatment and quickly pay for services.
Silver Ridge Recovery offers programs like individual, group and family counseling, as well as substance use treatment to help those recovering from mental health conditions, including PTSD.
To begin your treatment journey today, reach out to Silver Ridge Recovery to learn more about our programs. Contact our admissions staff anytime by calling 855-945-7788 to learn more.