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What triggers post-traumatic stress disorder and how can you better manage those events? I’m Kyle Kittleson. This is MedCircle News.
It’s important to realize that those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are not just combat veterans. In fact, out of the 3.5% of US adults who have PTSD, women are twice as likely as men to have it. Here are some common triggers to be on the lookout for.
Dr. Richie, the chief of psychiatry at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, says, “Smells and sounds that are similar to what survivors experienced during their trauma are very common PTSD triggers. Upsetting smells might include burning meat and diesel fuel, which could remind veterans of charred flesh and military trucks, for example. Triggering sounds might include helicopters, firecrackers, or other loud bangs.”
For survivors of sexual assault, locations similar to where the assault occurred, or the act of consensual sex itself, can act as a trigger.
To help cope with these triggers, the first piece of advice is to avoid events that may be too stressful. For example, if your trigger is loud noises, attending a firework display likely isn’t a good idea.
If you find yourself avoiding too much or isolating inside your home, it may be time to seek treatment. Treatments such as psychotherapy and medication are useful as well as meditation and yoga.
For more information on PTSD and to get in-depth, actionable advice, watch the MedCircle original series, PTSD: Confronting Sexual Trauma with Dr. Cheryl Arutt. I’m Kyle Kittleson and remember, whatever you’re going through - you got this.
This content is intended for informational purposes only. It should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you have a medical emergency, call 911 or your doctor immediately.