COVID-19 will be long-remembered for many things, but one issue that isn’t getting enough attention is the toll that the virus and the measures taken to prevent it from spreading have taken on the mental health of Americans.
This problem is especially apparent in those who were already suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At Texas Mind Science in Richardson and Flower Mound, Texas, we are concerned not only for our own patients who are fighting PTSD but also for all of those who have no support system to help them deal with the problem.
If you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD exacerbated by the COVID-19 situation, read on for some advice on what to do.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD usually develops after a traumatic or dangerous event in someone’s life. These events include things like military duty, gun violence, natural disasters, sexual or physical assault, a robbery, the death of a loved one, and many more.
Symptoms may develop immediately after the event, or they may show up years later. These symptoms include being hypersensitive; having flashbacks to the event; dealing with extreme emotions; feeling angry, depressed, and on edge; not being able to remember details; and intense anxiety.
While many people with PTSD have found ways to improve by working with their doctors, the last few months have made any sort of progress very difficult; in fact, the crisis has likely caused the symptoms to get much worse for many.
Because health and safety concerns are more prominent for everyone now, your PTSD may make these concerns more intense and frequent, and you may be dealing with more trauma triggers, thanks to all the talk about fighting battles. If your trauma involved difficulty breathing, the mask debate could bring those anxious feelings up for you.
The pandemic may also be causing an increase in negative thoughts and feelings and problems with sleep and concentration. All of these issues are also intensified because there has been a lack of access to the routine mental health care to which you have been accustomed.
Treatment for PTSD
If these feelings and experiences describe you, we can help. Reach out for treatment — there’s no shame in needing help from someone to get through something as difficult as PTSD. We can start with trauma-focused psychotherapy as well as other cognitive-behavioral therapies. Medication may also help you deal with issues such as insomnia and anxiety.
At Texas Mind Science, we also offer a treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The treatment uses magnetic pulses to brain structures and nerves that are typically underactive in patients with PTSD. When this nerve activity is restored, the symptoms of your PTSD are relieved.
You should also try to make time for activities that are meaningful to you, and you should spend as much time outside as possible. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also made available some online resources that may help coach you through the complicated tangle of feelings you have been experiencing.
If you would like to talk to someone about COVID-19 and PTSD, please feel free to reach out to us by calling or by using our easy online scheduler to set up an appointment at either of our offices.