Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with military veterans, but it stems from trauma that can happen to anyone at any time. From physical or sexual assault to a natural disaster, different kinds of traumatic events can trigger PTSD.
In fact, many people are now suffering from the mental and emotional consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – a worldwide traumatic event impacting lives, businesses, global economies and the health care industry.
In a recent study from Mental Health America, 93% of people screened for PTSD from January to July 2021, were positive or at risk for the condition. This is a 13% increase compared to 2020.
Health care workers have been particularly stressed, and current findings show they may experience trauma similar to individuals who serve in the military. After years of treating sick patients and witnessing an overwhelmed system, many health care professionals are experiencing a type of PTSD called “moral injury” stemming from feelings of guilt or shame watching so many patients die from the virus.
For those who contracted the virus, the aftermath can have a negative impact on mental health. An estimated 7.7-23 million Americans are living with lingering symptoms of COVID known as long COVID-19. Many people who’ve recovered from COVID report feelings of anxiety and depression and exhibit symptoms of trauma. Many patients with long COVID rank mental health at the top of their health concerns, and mental health treatment has been beneficial to combat this issue.
PTSD doesn’t just affect those who’ve recovered from the virus. Research shows family members of COVID-positive ICU patients deal with trauma too. In fact, 63% of the family members surveyed showed significant symptoms of PTSD. This statistic is especially high among Latino families.
When should you get help?
No matter how long ago a traumatic event occurred, it’s never too late to get help. PTSD can have a delayed response and appear months or even years later. Whenever you notice symptoms of trauma or these feelings begin to disrupt daily life, consider reaching out to a professional for help. Some common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Reliving the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
- Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people and activities that are reminders of the event.
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy and being easily irritated and angered.
- Having more negative thoughts and feelings than usual.
If you or someone you know struggle with trauma from the events related to COVID or from a stressful life event, we’re here to help. For more information, find an Oceans location near you or fill out this confidential form to have a staff member call you.