As more and more people face job loss and fear of the future, those affected can go through physical, emotional, and spiritual upheaval. Often the feeling of confusion, pain, and loss of control can trigger earlier traumatic experiences. Many of us, particularly men, tend to keep our feelings inside and try to handle things ourselves, but we often need outside support if we are going to re-establish a healthy balance in our lives.
What is the difference between a normal reaction to a traumatic event and PTSD?
Individuals can experience a wide array of reactions to a traumatic event, ranging from relatively mild to emotional responses severe enough to create major disruptions in their life. It is important to remember that most emotional and behavioral responses are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
A job loss or even the threat of a job loss, can trigger mixed and confusing feelings. It is very common for people to experience anxiety, fear, shock, and grief, as well as emotional numbness and personal or social disconnection for several weeks.
For most people, the emotional and behavioral responses to a trauma gradually diminish. It is often helpful to speak with family and loved ones about what happened, express one's feelings about the event, and get support from trusted friends and colleagues and perhaps a mental health professional.
For some people exposed to trauma, disturbing symptoms can persist or even worsen, developing into the syndrome known as PTSD. A syndrome is a constellation of symptoms that consistently occur together and thereby define a condition.The symptoms that define PTSD must last at least one month for a diagnosis of PTSD and may include:Recurrent, intrusive, distressing dreams and memories of the traumaA sudden sense that the event is recurring; experiencing flashbacksExtreme distress when confronted with events that symbolize or resemble the traumaAttempting to avoid thoughts, feelings, and activities associated with the eventInability to remember important aspects of the traumaFeelings of detachment and estrangement from loved onesInsomniaExtreme irritabilityInability to concentrateHyper vigilance or an exaggerated startle responseMany of us have experienced trauma in the past. The major changes going on in the economic markets can re-trigger experiences we've had as soldiers or things that occurred while we were children.If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out for help. Men often have an attitude that says, "I should handle my problems myself." A better view might be We all go through stressful times and its good to have support when we need it.For more information about Jed Diamond's work or to receive his free e-newsletter, go to www.MenAlive.com