PTSD only affects war veterans.
PTSD can affect anyone who has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Most people will witness or experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. No one can predict with certainty which events will lead to the development of PTSD.
People suffer from PTSD right after a traumatic event.
PTSD is not diagnosed until after symptoms have continued for a few months. This is because most people experience reactions after an event that decrease over time. In PTSD, these symptoms persist longer than a few months and may get worse over time. Many people do not recognize that they have PTSD until their symptoms get worse. Sometimes stress can bring back old memories and bring on new PTSD symptoms.
People who do not recover from trauma are weak.
All people who experience trauma go through a process of adjusting to their emotions and memories in order to recover and heal. This can take days, or months, or years. It is difficult to predict why some people experience the effects of trauma longer or with more intensity than others. Many variables are involved, including the nature of the event, personality, social support, and past life experiences. It takes courage and strength to recognize and confront PTSD and begin the process of recovery.
People who do not talk about the event until later are probably faking.
Traumatic events are horrifying. It can be very difficult to talk about or even remember such painful events. Avoidance is one of the central symptoms of PTSD. A person may feel that no one is available who can relate to their experience or may be trying to avoid burdening others. In many cases there is shame, secrecy, and stigma associated with the trauma. Abusers, peer groups, and people in power may instill fear of being judged or not being believed. Breaking down these walls is not easy and takes time.
All of us have experienced something traumatic and have a little bit of PTSD from it.
Memories of traumatic experiences might be vivid, and people may recognize some of the symptoms of PTSD as similar to what they have felt. However, most people do not experience the severity of symptoms and the interference with daily life that is part of a diagnosis of PTSD. The experience of normal anxiety and disturbance are different from the changes in the brain associated with PTSD.