Anxiety Depression Mental Health Mental Health Awareness Psychology

You Don’t Have To Be a Veteran To Have PTSD

Depression is an illness, PTSD is a psychiatric anxiety disorder. It's possible to have both at the same time.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is extremely different from typical anxiety and depression. Although, depression and PTSD share certain symptoms, many don’t realize that it is possible to experience both conditions at the same time.

You don’t have to be in the military to have PTSD.

According to David Yusko, Psy.D., Perelman School of Medicine,                  PTSD symptoms can develop from experiences involving natural disasters, serious accidents, life-threatening illnesses, physical abuse, and sexual assault during childhood or adulthood.

A traumatic event that precedes the onset of PTSD can be experienced either directly or indirectly by an individual.

Learning how a loved one died a violent death, or watching someone be assaulted, are examples of indirect trauma exposure.

The Difference Between PTSD and Depression

Depression doesn’t just go away overnight, it’s an illness that can be treated with therapy or medication.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric, anxiety disorder that happens after experiencing a horrible event.

Although military veterans constitute a great proportion of cases- PTSD can also be caused by various traumatizing events, for example:

  • Death of a loved one, family member or friend by suicide or homicide
  • Directly experiencing or witnessing traumatic events
  • Serious car accident
  • Physical assault
  • Sexual violation
  • Exposure to actual or threatened death
  • Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
  • Learning that a traumatic events occurred to a close family member or friend

Common Symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Persistent avoidance of distressing memories
  2. Detachment or estrangement from others
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. Thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders (i.e., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)
  5. Insomnia
  6. Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
  7. Jumpy/ easily startled
  8. Persistent irritability, anger, lashing out
  9. Nightmares
  10. Memory loss, difficulty recalling recent events unrelated to the trauma
  11. Distorted blame of self or others about the cause/consequences of traumatic events
  12. Persistent fear, horror, guilt, or shame
  13. Exaggerated negative beliefs (e.g., “I’m bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”)
  14. Diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  15. Persistent inability to experience positive emotions
  16. Numbing or self medicating, drugs and alcohol

Help & Referrals –

American Psychiatric Association –

National Institute of Mental Health

Please visit the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website to learn more about other treatment options for PTSD. Additional resources include the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, the VA’s National Center for PTSD, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and any rape crisis center near you.


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