Lubbock psychologist dispels myths about PTSD - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock psychologist dispels myths about PTSD

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Dr. David Trotter is a clinical psychologist with Texas Tech Physicians. Dr. David Trotter is a clinical psychologist with Texas Tech Physicians.

Although we normally associate it with active or returning military personnel, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that affects many Americans.

"The prevalence among active service members and among veterans is much higher, around anywhere from 4 to 17 percent. The VA actually estimates that on the higher end," said David Trotter, Ph.D.

Trotter is a clinical psychologist with Texas Tech Physicians.

"One of the symptoms of PTSD are these flashbacks, so there can be situations in which people feel like they are again experiencing the traumatic event and may even behave like they're experiencing the traumatic event - anger and aggression can be part of the PTSD picture."

That is also one of the biggest myths about PTSD.

"The first thing is that all people with PTSD are violent, that's inaccurate. We can see violence with many people who have PTSD and increased anger but certainly not all people who have PTSD are violent in any way shape or form," he said. "Also there's this misperception that people with PTSD are crazy and they're simply not."

Dr. Trotter says there are certain criteria that people need to meet to be diagnosed with PTSD:

  • Exposure to a traumatic event
  • Re-Experiencing symptoms (e.g. nightmares, intense memories, flashbacks)
  • Avoidance of things associated with the trauma (e.g. places)
  • Negative changes in mood or thoughts
  • Increased physiological arousal (e.g. easily startled, hyper vigilance)
  • Lasts more than 1 month
  • Causes distress and/or impairment in functioning
  • Cannot be attributed to another medical condition

The best thing people can do is seek treatment.

"If people know someone who has these sorts of symptoms and has been exposed to trauma, they should really encourage them to establish, to seek care because there are really good treatment options available. People don't have to live with these symptoms," Trotter said. "One is medications, we have good medications to help with the mood symptoms. We even have medications that have been shown to help with the nightmares, and therapy can be very, very helpful."

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