Post-traumatic stress occurs in children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced a traumatic event. People experience trauma in different ways, such as emotional, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, as well as life threating events, like a car accident, attack, and witnessing violence.
It is normal to experience the following symptoms: depression, anxiety, flashbacks, avoidance, intrusive thoughts, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and other symptoms. These symptoms can appear weeks, months, or years after the traumatic event has occurred.
On October 1, 2017, Las Vegas suffered an extreme trauma where we lost our loved ones in attendance at the Route 91 concert. Family members and survivors of Route 91 may have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when 1 October first occurred.
Some people may not know that they are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms due to being unaware of what PTSD is and its symptoms. There may have been many in attendance or support systems who did not seek help or treatment from the tragedy until they experienced their first panic attack after hearing a loud sound, such as sirens, people running or yelling, nightmares, and more.
To this day, there are survivors and family members who did not reach out for help initially for many reasons. They may have not been ready, did not experience symptoms at the time, or only experienced symptoms later on. They may be suffering from delayed-onset PTSD where symptoms don’t appear until at least six months after a traumatic event and even years later as their PTSD symptoms are triggered or worsened by major life changes.
With Independence Day approaching, it is normal to be triggered by sounds, smells, or the holiday itself. One can also be triggered by the anniversary day or month of when the traumatic event occurred.
Hoping and Coping
As a social worker with Silver State Health, I have worked with survivors and others who experience post-traumatic stress disorder and have grown through their trauma. There is still hope when you experience a traumatic event in your life.
When coping with post-traumatic stress, you must remember to reach out to the people in your life and remember you are not alone. Express to your support system how they can help you during this time. Develop healthy coping skills that work for you, such as, breathing, grounding techniques, and journaling. Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present and focusing your attention to one thing at a time.
If you are a part of the support system to someone currently experiencing post-traumatic stress, be mindful of what they are experiencing. Being kind, sensitive, supportive, and open to learning can help the person experiencing trauma.
To all those who are experiencing post-traumatic stress or any of the symptoms, know it is okay to ask for help when needed and know you are not alone. In addition to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, you can reach out for help through Silver State Health, an associated provider, at 702-471-0420. You can also attend upcoming outreach events or sessions of integrative services listed on the VSRC Calendar page, which can help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress.