PTSD, short for post-traumatic stress disorder, is a serious mental disorder. But it’s one that is easily misdiagnosed—or worse, ignored altogether.
If you have gone through a traumatic event, you may have been told to “get over it.” It’s even possible that you have dismissed the event yourself as something not that bad. Your body, on the other hand, feels otherwise, and the symptoms of PTSD don’t stay hidden for long.
In order to meet the diagnosis of PTSD according to the official mental disorder manual (DSM-5), the event has to meet specific criteria. However, that doesn’t mean that something traumatic to you that doesn’t match the manual’s definition can’t lead to PTSD.
Anything that happens to you that reshapes your view of the world negatively is traumatic. If you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, or you think you could have this mental condition, it’s important to know more about it and the possible treatments.
Many people with the diagnosis of PTSD consider themselves to be weak. Their minds weren’t strong enough to handle the trauma and recover. But the reality is that it’s a biological reaction that shows up as mental symptoms.
Your body responds to triggers, like sights and sounds, that remind it of the event. These responses include unconscious changes in your heart rate and brain activity.
Because PTSD’s symptoms are based largely on biological processes, they can be treated with medication and natural therapies.
One reason why this condition is frequently misdiagnosed is that it can take over ten years to really show up. In the meantime, these delayed-onset symptoms are building up under the surface. They’re affecting your daily decisions without you realizing it.
This is frequently seen in people with multiple childhood traumas. As children, one of our defense mechanisms is to repress what happened. When we become adults, these events slowly come to light.
The traumatic feelings we hid have always been there. But now that we’re forced to face them, the results are adult reactions to legitimate childhood fears.
When a psychologist doesn’t know about the history and the traumatic event from years ago, it’s easy to label the patient wrong. Bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are common diagnoses that should be PTSD.
A diagnosis of PTSD doesn’t mean you have to be on synthetic prescription medications to get through the day. In fact, natural treatments teach you how to handle the symptoms without relying on controlled substances.
The goal is to control your PTSD instead of letting it have power over you. A few ways you can do this include:
- Going for PTSD therapy. In this setting, you’ll be taught skills to deal with your diagnosis and get your self-confidence back. You’ll work through the event and walk through the fears that came from. This way, you’ll understand how to control the triggers and your reactions.
- Adjusting your unhealthy behaviors. There’s a vicious cycle that happens when many people have PTSD. To get rid of their symptoms, they turn to alcohol or drugs.
But the side effects and damage of these “pain relievers” often become worse than the traumatic event in the first place.
- Medical marijuana. Now that cannabis has become legal in many states, it’s being used to dominate the PTSD treatment scene. Studies have shown that cannabinoids reduce the level of activity in the amygdala. This is the fight-or-flight part of the brain that associates your triggers with a threat.
MMJ cards give you access to multiple types of cannabis. If you prefer to smoke it or get your CBD through edibles, the MMJ card helps you do this.
If you’re in a state where it’s legal to use marijuana recreationally, you should still consider getting an MMJ card. Here are a few of the benefits that you get when you buy your cannabis with a card.
Since the ultimate aim is for you to control your PTSD symptoms yourself, getting hooked on a controlled prescription medication defeats the goal. Counseling, cannabis, and your habits are all within easy access.
A diagnosis of PTSD, or an assumption of the diagnosis, is a good thing. It’s the next step you need in order to understand what’s going on in your mind. PTSD is the culmination of a past event, but it doesn’t have to continue to affect your future.