Long term PTSD

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Kiraz
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/3/2010 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   
This might be an odd question, but here goes.

Recently my good friend, who used to work in a psychiatric hospital, and who has acted as a sounding board for me many times, mentioned that she feels it's possible I might be suffering from a long undiagnosed PTSD.

we were discussing my problems with anxiety and agoraphobia (which I am on medication and seeing a therapist for) but have never been satisfied about not knowing the cause of the symptoms.

I had two bad car accidents, one at age 15 with my mother at the wheel, and one at 17 when I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree (completely sober, just exhausted when my mom forced me to drive an hour home despite me telling her I was too tired to drive).

After the second accident, I became terrified to be a passenger in a car. I wouldn't ride in a vehicle unless I was driving for years. Eventually, I got over it, but never completely. I'm 29 now, and I still cringe and hold on when in the passenger seat with anyone else behind the wheel.

I used to drive all over the place, long road trips constantly, and I loved it. I loved being behind the wheel, the open road, I was fearless and carefree. Then suddenly for no reason I started becoming afraid to leave the house.

Now a days, I'm more or less housebound. I don't have panic attacks, but I can't tolerate leaving the house without my husband. Sometimes the house gets so confining that I force myself to get out, either with friends (which ends up being uncomfortable and not nearly as much fun as it should) or to run errands. But as soon as I leave, I want to get home as soon as possible, and won't leave again for days, or a week or more.

I worry constantly about all the bad things that could happen out there, and usually the scenarios center around the traveling bit. accidents and such, weather I'm driving or not. But I also can't stand to be around people and places that are unfamiliar. My husband has to accompany me to any place new the first few times until I feel comfortable enough to try it on my own.

In short, my question is, these symptoms started about 4 or 5 years ago and have steadily gotten worse. Could this be PTSD from the car accidents? Or is this just old fashioned GAD without any cause I can pinpoint? It's really frustrating for me not being able to pinpoint why this started, i feel like if i knew why this is happening to me I could make big steps towards getting better.
Diagnosed Bipolar 1995
Successfully Treated now in 2009.
Abilify 2.5mg 1xpm, Seroquel XR 50-100mg PM. Topamax 75mg 2x daily


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/3/2010 1:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Kiraz,


Your physciatrist is the best person to help decided if this is post traumatic stress disorder.



Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that's triggered by a traumatic event. You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you experience or witness an event that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror.



Many people who are involved in traumatic events have a brief period of difficulty adjusting and coping. But with time and healthy coping methods, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely disrupt your life. In these cases, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder



Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are commonly grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).reference: Mayo Clinic

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

<UL>
* Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time

* Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
</UL>
Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:

<UL>
* Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event

* Feeling emotionally numb

* Avoiding activities you once enjoyed

* Hopelessness about the future

* Memory problems

* Trouble concentrating

* Difficulty maintaining close relationships
</UL>
You talk of having friends and you feel anxious, you have a dx of Bipolar whether or not you have PTSD I do not know but a good talk with your Doctor should help you sort it out.

Take care,

Kitt

Celey
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 5/3/2010 2:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Kitt... only a psychiatrist would be able to accurately diagnose you... You should bring it up to him/her...

I won't press you for details about the car accidents if you don't want to talk about it... But usually just being in a car accident isn't enough to really trigger post traumatic stress disorder... Unless it was... horrific... (Nanners, a poster on here, mentioned her sister-in-law's PTSD... which was most likely triggered by a car accident which resulted in her mom dying and two of her kids getting burned up all over their bodies)...

It sounds to me like a lot of your symptoms are related to the agoraphobia... which probably was aggravated by the car accidents you had...

Not to devalue your experience or anything.... Car accidents are bad, either way... Being that you already have anxiety issues and such, you would be more susceptible to developing post traumatic stress disorder...

Again, though, this is only something your psychiatrist can diagnose... The only thing I'm doing is speculating...

I've had some experience with PTSD... (I was diagnosed when I was a kid...)... I'm not sure if I still have it or not (I've only recently begun to suspect that it hasn't gone away)...

But it puts me in the same boat as you... It is frustrating having to deal with anxiety symptoms... and not knowing what to do to help yourself feel better...

I hope you get some answers...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.


Kiraz
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/3/2010 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I think the big problem is, I fit into too many categories of too many different disorders. It's hard to tell where I belong, hard to figure out how to treat my issues.

To me, knowing the root of the problem is the starting point to the road to recovery.

I've done plenty of research on PTSD, along with many other forms of anxiety disorders, I'm well aware of the types and symptoms, treatments, etc.

I never got help for my phobia with driving, which is part of what leads me to believe now that it's a major cause of my agoraphobia. That things spiraled out of control on me while I wasn't watching.

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced onset of PTSD symptoms years after the traumatic incident. Was it sudden onset, or a slow progression?
Diagnosed Bipolar 1995
Successfully Treated now in 2009.
Abilify 2.5mg 1xpm, Seroquel XR 50-100mg PM. Topamax 75mg 2x daily


Celey
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 5/3/2010 3:13 PM (GMT -7)   
That's the problem with a lot of disorders... There are a lot of symptoms that match.... It's important to try not to diagnose yourself, though... and leave that sort of thing to a professional... *Hard, I know... I have the same problem*

Anyway, I've read that people have had symptoms of PTSD months or years after the traumatic incident...

When I had been diagnosed with PTSD, it was from sudden onset... *That is, the symptoms I was experiencing happened right after my trauma*

A lot of times PTSD is supposed to clear up within... I think... six months or so? After the initial traumatic event...

Which is kind of what I thought happened in my case... (I had very little interest in PTSD at the time, I was more concerned with schizophrenia since that's what my mom has... I wasn't aware of the whole six months thing)... I thought that my PTSD had just cleared up after I turned 13 because I had stopped having nightmares every night and I had stopped having night terrors (which I didn't have every night, just on occasion)....

... I was diagnosed when I was about... five? Six? though... Still, I think its still possible that I don't still have PTSD.... But... like with you, its something that I'm going to have to bring up to the professionals...

Anyway... as I said earlier... It's a possibility... And... people with anxiety issues do tend to be less resilient when it comes to dealing with traumatic events...

All I can say is... Wait and see...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.


MMMNAVY
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 5/3/2010 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Feeling vernerable (like one can with any illness) I think can trigger alot of different stuff.
I agree with the above. I would really think about seeing a psych to actually get a solid dx, instead of trying to self dx.

Kiraz
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/3/2010 5:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree, it's way to easy to self diagnose one's self with everything under the sun. I just never know what to bring up as being a factor, and what to leave out as inconsequential. Sessions are expensive, and you can only fit so much talking into each session. It's hard enough for me to get motivated to brave leaving the house, get in the car, drive to the hospital, navigate the parking garage, then the hallways and elevator, waiting room, and finally her office, that I don't want to waste a session talking about things that don't matter.

I already see a psychiatrist, am on meds, and are working towards more regular therapy sessions rather then just med checks. The question is, whats really going on with me, and how do we fix it, or find a way to make life more livable for me.
Diagnosed Bipolar 1995
Successfully Treated now in 2009.
Abilify 2.5mg 1xpm, Seroquel XR 50-100mg PM. Topamax 75mg 2x daily


MMMNAVY
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 5/3/2010 6:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Write it down your concerns and symptoms then rank them. Like you would with any doc.
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