06 Apr PTSD Symptoms in Men
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that affects many people all over the world. It’s often simply called PTSD, and it can have very serious effects on a person’s ability to live their everyday life. PTSD can be caused by a single traumatic event, or it can be caused by repeated trauma. It can also occur with another mental health disorder such as addiction. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment is often needed for people with PTSD.
Men are actually less likely to develop PTSD versus women, but the symptoms of PTSD in men can be harder to identify. Many men internalize their symptoms and think that whatever they’re experiencing is a problem with them and not a mental condition. Men are also more likely to fall into addiction to cope with their symptoms.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that occurs in some people after they experience a traumatic event or repeated traumatic events. It’s about twice as likely to occur in women versus men. A person with PTSD often has flashbacks of the traumatic event or events. These flashbacks cause emotional, mental and physical stress that interferes with their daily lives. Even though PTSD occurs in only four out of 100 men, the PTSD symptoms in men can be more difficult to recognize and diagnose. Many men are wired or conditioned not to show weakness, so they may internalize and hide these symptoms. They may also attempt to self-medicate through drugs or alcohol.
What Are Common PTSD Symptoms In Men?
PTSD symptoms in men are not all that different from PTSD symptoms in women, but men may express them differently. They may not talk about them with others either. Some common symptoms include the following:
• Panic attacks
• Insomnia or nightmares
• Unstable moods
• Emotional numbness
Panic attacks cause sudden and immediate feelings of fear and panic. They can happen at any time and in any environment. Sometimes they’re triggered by PTSD flashbacks or by some stimuli in the person’s immediate environment.
Having flashbacks, or living in a state of fearfulness can cause nightmares or make it difficult for a person to sleep. Someone with PTSD may have frequent sleep disturbances.
One of the major PTSD symptoms in men is detachment. Many men don’t like to talk about or express their emotions. If they feel too unstable from PTSD symptoms, they may detach in order to be alone when they happen.
Another one of the major PTSD symptoms in men is mood swings and unstable moods. The feeling of living in fear can cause unstable moods. PTSD symptoms in men often include angry outbursts, extreme tension and emotional numbness.
What Causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
People who develop PTSD might see symptoms anywhere between one month to a few years after the traumatic event or experience. Traumatizing events vary from person to person. Someone might experience a traumatic event and not develop PTSD, while someone else may experience the same event and develop symptoms. However, these are some common experiences that may cause PTSD:
• Sexual or physical abuse
• Mental or emotional abuse
• Losing a loved one
• Being in a combat or war zone
• Witnessing or being in a car accident
It’s common for first responders and military people who see active combat to develop PTSD as a result of their repeated experiences. It’s not clear why some people end up with PTSD while others don’t. However, it’s a serious disorder that requires professional treatment. Without treatment, PTSD sufferers may end up with co-occurring disorders like addiction.
Treatment For PTSD
There are a number of effective treatments for PTSD symptoms in men, including many types of therapy. A treatment plan usually starts with intensive psychotherapy, which can later be supplemented by group counseling and family therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tends to be one of the most common forms of treatment. CBT helps identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors. The main reason that therapy is effective is that it addresses the strong feelings of guilt and shame often experienced by those who suffer from PTSD symptoms.
PTSD symptoms in men often include detachment, emotional discomfort and mental instability. They may feel like they are somehow to blame for their traumatic experiences and their reaction to them. It can cause them to detach and disconnect from other people. Therapy addresses these concerns by allowing men to have a safe space to communicate with their counselor. They can talk about their symptoms and how the symptoms have affected their lives. It lets men work through emotions that they might not otherwise confront or recognize. If a dual diagnosis condition is present, therapy can help both conditions
Group Therapy and Mindfulness
Along with personal counseling, it’s also important to attend group therapy. It can help men develop better interpersonal skills and become more comfortable in communicating with others who have had similar experiences. PTSD tends to make people feel very alone. Sufferers often feel like no one understands what they’re going through. Group therapy can help them see that they’re not alone and that other people are also struggling with this condition. It’s especially helpful for men to see that as they are less likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another common treatment for post traumatic stress disorder is mindfulness. This encourages people to think only about the present and how to live in it. Keeping thoughts from the future and past allows for a more relaxed mental state. It can also help people cope with strong emotional responses.
Why Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Often Leads To Substance Abuse
As previously mentioned, it’s not uncommon for people with post traumatic stress disorder to also have a substance use disorder. This is known as a dual diagnosis condition. Why does it happen? The main reason is that people with mental health conditions often have a hard time managing their symptoms, and they may not realize that they have a problem. Since these symptoms disrupt daily life and are hard to deal with, the person might turn to alcohol or drugs as self-medication.
The problem with co-occurring disorders is that it’s sometimes hard to tell which disorder came first as there are many overlapping symptoms. The other problem is that both disorders can make the other one worse. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol can eventually exacerbate symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. It can also cause other mental health issues at the same time, like anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. Addiction is a serious problem on its own, but it can be even more serious combined with other mental health conditions.
Consider New Method Wellness in your search for a quality dual diagnosis treatment center for serious mental health conditions such as substance use disorder, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Get in touch with our helpful staff today for more information.