Posttraumatic stress disorder can intensify during a medical emergency
According to the Mayo Clinic, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that begins when someone experiences or witnesses a terrifying event. Symptoms of this condition may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
PTSD and Personal Medical Emergency
When people suffer from a medical emergency, they are often overwhelmed with the situation’s immediacy. In other words, people in emergencies often become quite frightened, uncertain about how to respond and anxious about getting the best care quickly.
However, these typical reactions to a medical emergency are even greater for people who suffer with PTSD. A medical emergency is traumatic, so people with PTSD may react in extreme and unreasonable ways given their condition.
PTSD and Witnessed Medical Emergency
The Mayo Clinic points out that PTSD can be triggered by a terrifying event that is either experienced or witnessed. Therefore, people with PTSD who observe a medical emergency happening to another person may have an extreme reaction even though they are safe.
If someone with PTSD watches a loved one endure trauma, then the emotional significance may further incapacitate a PTSD patient.
Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms of PTSD include the following major categories: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood and changes in emotional reactions. Within these major categories, PTSD sufferers may have the following reactions:
- Negative feelings about themselves or other people
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Memory problems, including forgetting important aspects of the traumatic event
- Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fastThese more defined reactions link PTSD to medical emergencies and substance abuse.
PTSD Links to Medical Emergency
People with PTSD struggle to stay productive. When people have to expend so much time, focus and effort to deal with their symptoms, they are often left weak in body, mind and spirit, which can lead to improper care. For example, someone with a serious lack of focus while driving may drive recklessly, which may cause a medical emergency due to a traffic accident.
PTSD Links to Substance Abuse
The Mayo Clinic states that people with PTSD often suffer in other aspects of life, including employment, relationships, health and enjoyment of everyday activities. Because PTSD causes so many problems, it increases the risks of the following issues:
- Depression and anxiety
- Drug or alcohol use
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
When someone with PTSD also experiences depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, substance abuse becomes highly likely. In fact, people with PTSD may abuse drugs or alcohol either to numb their feelings or to replace them temporarily with a drug-induced euphoria.