PTSD & Seafaring
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is PTSD: PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
At least one re-experiencing symptom
At least one avoidance symptom
At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
Avoidance symptoms include:
Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping
Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Practice relaxation methods
Muscle relaxation exercises
Listening to quiet music
Spending time in nature
Talk to others for support
Coping with the symptoms of PTSD
Unwanted distressing memories, images, or thoughts
Remind yourself that they are just that, memories.
Remind yourself that it's natural to have some memories of the trauma(s).
Talk about them to someone you trust.
Remember that, although reminders of trauma can feel overwhelming, they often lessen with time.