Why is so hard to admit you have PTSD?
What is PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is most often associated with soldiers, however they're only a small segment of the population who suffer from it. PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event or series of events — either by experiencing them or witnessing them. In popular culture, PTSD is brought on a single event however for most people it's multiple events or even a pattern of events that feels inescapable. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about what happened. Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD. Memories or flashbacks trigger PTSD Another mundane day in the office; stocking patient rooms, prepping a few IV lines because our intel is that we had 75/25 chance of getting rocketed tonight, sweeping the Iraqi dust out of our makeshift aid station, when suddenly my heart starts pounding, tears spring to my eyes and I feel out of control. I had been having difficulty sleeping, plagued with nightmares but just chalked it up to being homesick and missing my son. This is different…I can’t function and it’s affecting my ability to do my job. Something was wrong. I tried to Skype with my parents about it and they just chalked it up to combat stress and told me to “suck it up.” I continued to experience these anxiety attacks that appeared unprovoked. It progressed to flashbacks. A certain smell would send me over the edge. Or a touch… That night in April 2010, when everything began spiraling downhill, something inside of me snapped. I couldn’t sit with my back to the door when I went to the DFAC (cafeteria) because I had to see the escape route and watch those that were coming or going. . PTSD makes you feel alone even when people are there to help Hello, my name is Shawna and I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Turned out that all those years of repressing the emotional baggage for all those “life altering events” finally came back to bite me in the butt and emerged as PTSD. I worked with my psychologist for about six months when she asked me if I had thought about a
A Comprehensive Guide to Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks
Service Dogs work for people who have physical, psychiatric, or developmental disabilities. These highly trained and specialized dogs undergo thousands of hours of schooling so they can perform their work safely and reliably. They learn tasks to help reduce the impact of their handler's disability. These tasks fill in gaps in the handler's capabilities. By partnering with a Service Dog, disabled individuals often gain peace of mind, independence, and increased confidence. Since they commonly work in public, Service Dogs must be free of temperament flaws, focused, unobtrusive, and well-trained. Furthermore, the Americans With Disabilities Act specifies that they must be individually task trained to do work specifically for their handler. The types of tasks a Service Dog performs varies depending on the dog's job. Mobility Assistance Dogs might pull a wheelchair, help their partner stand up after a fall, or provide counterbalance. Hearing Dogs alert to sounds in the environment so their handler can respond appropriately. Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) increase their handler's day to day functioning by helping to manage chronic and acute episodes of mental illness and related symptoms. What are Psychiatric Service Dogs? Psychiatric Service Dogs work for people who have psychiatric disabilities. Typically defined as "a spectrum of mental disorders or conditions that influence our emotions, cognitions, and/or behaviors," psychiatric disabilities primarily affect the brain and brain chemistry. Many mental illnesses cause physical signs and symptoms, too. Examples in the U.S. government's Psychiatric Enforcement Guidance document include anxiety disorders (which include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, and personality disorders. Other examples include phobias such as agoraphobia, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, and dissociative disorders such as dissociative identity disorder and depersonalization disorder. Like all Service Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs perform specific tasks and work for their handler. These tasks vary widely depending on the nature of their handler's disability and exact needs. It's important that tasks be trained behaviors that reliably occur on verbal, physical, or environmental cue(s). Behaviors that any dog can do, like sit for petting or provide companionship, do not qualify as Psychiatric Service Dog tasks. In order to be a Psychiatric Service Dog, a dog must be trained as a Service Dog and partnered with someone who has a psychiatric disability. Merely having a disability and a dog does not make that dog a Service Dog -- only task training and the proper temperament can do that. In addition to task training,