christmas holidays

How To Maintain Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

The winter holidays are a time of joy, family, and giving. As the year reaches an end, we begin to reflect and get excited for what’s to come. Despite the jolly music and sugary snacks, the holidays can be hard for some people. They can take a serious strain on one’s mental health. The stress of planning events and being around people can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression. Luckily there are a few tips that psychiatrists recommend to minimize these negative feelings and focus on the real joy of this season.

 

Don’t Take On Too Much

It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all during the holidays. Planning parties, buying gifts, and seeing all your loved ones seem like fun activities, but they can start to feel like horrible obligations. Budgeting and scheduling will help you from overextending yourself. Get comfortable saying no to certain things if it’s in the best interest of your mental health.

 

Focus On Loved Ones

Whether it’s your family or friends, this time of year is really about love. You don’t need to throw a big party in order to spend time with thee people. Do small activities like baking cookies or going ice-skating. It’s not so much about what you’re doing or where you are, as much as it is about whom you’re with.

 

Only Spend Time With Those You Want Too

There is a sense of obligation at this time of year to see people you may not want too just because they’re family. If there are certain situations going on between family members keep things light and don’t engage with those heated topics. Also don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, excuse yourself from a stressful situation, or even not attend an event if you don’t want to. It’s far more important to spend this time with those that bring positivity into your life.

 

Don’t Forget Healthy Habits

Everyone has their own holiday traditions, and many have indulgences that you may not otherwise have such as food, drink, or other activities. While these indulgences may seem fun, for some people they can lead to intense guilt and stress. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should forget the healthy habits you’ve been working on all year. Keeping them up will make you feel more accomplished and happy.

 

Don’t Force The Joy

As happy as these times are for some, to other this time of year brings on intense sadness. Whether it’s because a loved on it no longer around, or because of mental illness, don’t feel like you have to force yourself to be happy. Beating yourself up because you don’t feel the holiday joy isn’t going to help bring it. Everyone has bad days, and if yours happen to fall on a holiday there’s nothing you can do about that. Accept it and enjoy what you can.

 

Conclusion

Mental health is just as important during the holidays as it is any other time of year. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday cheer that you forget about yourself. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our psychiatrists to discuss any holiday anxiety, stress, or depression you may be feeling please contact us.

 

Most Humorous and Horrific Psychiatric Treatments Through History

Mental health has come a long way, and if you don’t believe us yet you surely will after reading this. A lot of the stigma around mental illness that lingers today comes from these odd and outlandish historical treatments. Some of these old psychiatric treatments were just ineffective, but others were downright cruel and painful. Thankfully psychiatrist treatment options have advanced and we no longer have to rely on these methods.

 

Trepanation

Trepanation is known as the oldest neurosurgical procedure around. The process involves drilling a hole into the skull. The craziest part is that archeologists have evidence of this procedure being done as long ago as the Stone Age and in nearly every part of the world.

 

Records show it was used to treat cranial injuries sustained during war or combat, but it was also used to treat epilepsy and yes, you guessed it mental illness. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this procedure was believed to help “evil escape”. Psychiatrists today are glad they don’t have to drill holes in skulls in order to get their patients some help!

 

Hysteria Therapy

Although he’s called the father of Western medicine, ancient Greek healer Hippocrates is also responsible for centuries of medical misogyny. He theorized that female psychiatric symptoms and issues were a result of “hysteria”, or the womb wandering through the body. We can laugh about how outlandish it sounds now, but hysteria diagnosis lasted well into the 20th century.

 

Early treatments for hysteria included smelling foul substances with the intention of repelling the uterus back to the lower regions of the body. Plato believed women should get married and pregnant, as pregnancy would return the uterus to the right position. Later on, hysterical symptoms were attributed to demonic possession, which could lead to exorcisms or other spiritual cleansing treatments. Thankfully psychiatrists have a much better understanding of the female mind and body today.

 

Mesmerism

The early 1770’s brought forth the notion of “animal magnetism”, later renamed “mesmerism” by Austrian physician and theologian Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer. He believed that a number of ailments were caused by naturally occurring magnetic fields. Realignment was necessary to improve help.

 

Realignment happened by administering high-dose iron to patients, which was then guided through the body by magnets. Other variations had patients sitting in chemical-filled bathtubs with iron rods applied to the affected areas. Clearly, these treatments weren’t effective, and it didn’t help that later on, Mesmer claimed to have magical powers. Although his work has since been debunked, Mesner actually laid the groundwork for psychiatric hypnosis, which is still used today.

 

Rotation Therapy

In the 19th century, there was a belief that using centrifugal force could treat mental illness. Essentially, it was believed that excessive spinning would reduce “brain congestion”. Special chairs were even invented for this treatment and it spread across Europe. There is very little chance these procedures actually had any medical benefits, but they’re still notable for providing the first ever description of G-force biomedical effects.

 

Surgical Excision and Extractions

In the early 1900s, a man by the named of Henry Cotton, who was superintendent of the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, had an interesting theory. He believed that mental illness was caused by bodily infections whose toxins poisoned the brain. He sought to remove these chronic infections at their source- by taking out patients teeth, tonsils, spleens, uteri, and other organs.

 

Cotton claimed cure rates of more than 80% but in reality, many of his procedures had mortality rates of about 45%. While his brutal methods are no longer used, his links between mental illness and inflammation are being looked into more lately. But thankfully, psychiatrists don’t have to act like dentists today.

 

Insulin Shock Therapy

About a decade after insulin was discovered, German physician Mandred Sakel began using it to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal and then not long after schizophrenia. Insulin doses were so high that patients fell into a stupor or coma, making them more cooperative and free from their psychiatric symptoms.

 

It wasn’t long before this treatment caught on in the US, and was used alongside the popular electroconvulsive therapy. While mortality rate could be a little high, and it mainly made people manageable rather than cure them, it was used for quite some time. Eventually, with the introduction of chlorpromazine (Thorazine), which was a cheaper, safer, and equally effective alternative, insulin shock therapy was phased out.

 

Conclusion

Psychiatrists today are glad they have a variety of safe and effective treatment options available for patients. While many of these historical treatments walk the line between hilarious and horrific, many of them laid the groundwork for psychiatrist treatments used today.

Fentanyl Now Leading Cause of Overdose Deaths in the US

It seems as if every news outlets have at least one story a day related to the opiate crisis or opiate epidemic. The concerns aren’t unfounded either. More people are using, becoming addicted to, overdosing from, and dying due to opiates.

 

Many people’s opiate addictions began through legitimate means. It usually begins with some accident and a prescription for pain pills. Over the last few years, the government has been shutting down what they call “pill mills”. As a result, this made it harder for people to satisfy their pill addiction.

 

When pills ran out, people turned to other opiates like heroin. But even heroine has been getting more expensive and harder to get. And now it’s more dangerous.

 

Drug suppliers and dealers have taken to cutting drugs with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Many times, people aren’t aware they are taking fentanyl until it’s too late.

 

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Last year alone it killed more than 21,000 people.

 

The outcry that the US is in the midst of an overdose epidemic is putting it lightly. In 2016 alone, 65,000 people died from drug overdoes, a 21% jump from 2015. While not all of those can be credited to opiates, a large number can.

 

Many are shocked to learn that Fentanyl only arrived on the illicit drug scene around 2012. In a few short years, it has raced ahead, beating out the traditional killers like meth and heroin in terms of death counts. It’s not surprising considering fentanyl is 50 times more potent than morphine and 10 times more potent than heroin. Add to the mix the fact that most people aren’t aware they are taking it and you have the perfect recipe for an opiate epidemic.

 

Fentanyl might soon be displaced though as a new kid on the block, Carfentanil, which is a synthetic opiate even more powerful than fentanyl.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, please contact us to get help.

 

Symptoms and Causes of Panic Attacks

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack or an episode of intense fear, you’ll understand how terrifying they can be. While panic is a natural feeling that stems from the body’s fight or flight response, panic disorders and attacks can be extremely harmful to individuals.

 

Symptoms

Panic attacks can happen at any time, and often suddenly without warning. People with panic disorders may experience them occasionally or frequently. There are a number of symptoms people can experience during a panic attack, and each attack may bring with it a different set of symptoms. This can make it complicated to identify when it’s a panic attack and when it’s something more serious.

 

The most common symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Sense of impending danger or doom
  • Fear of death or loss of control
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feeling detached

 

The good news is that these symptoms usually peak and wane off after a few minutes. After experiencing an attack though, people often have an intense fear of having another one. This can cause people to avoid certain situations that bring them on. While panic attacks aren’t dangerous, they are hard to manage on your own. Panic attacks can get worse without treatment, and can greatly disrupt one’s life. That’s why it’s important to seek out medical help after an attack. Panic attacks mirror symptoms of other serious health problems, like heart attacks, so it’s best to get checked out to make sure that wasn’t what happened.

 

Causes

Doctors still aren’t entirely sure what causes panic attacks or panic disorders. It’s believed that these factors may play a role:

  • Genetics
  • Major Stress
  • Temperament (Sensitivity to stress or prone to negative emotions)
  • Changes in the way parts of the brain function

Panic attacks can come at any time, but the longer someone experiences them, the more likely they are to be triggered by certain situations. Some research suggests the body’s fight-or-flight response is a factor in panic attacks. Many of the same reactions the body goes through while experiencing a fight-or-flight response also occur during a panic attack (like fast heart rate and trouble breathing).  Still, it’s not known why panic attacks occur, or what causes panic disorders to develop.

 

What To Do

The best thing to do after experiencing a panic attack is to seek medical help. This can initially be a regular medical doctor to rule out any physical causes of the symptoms. Treatment, through medication and/or psychotherapy, is important to helping people get better. Very few individuals are able to stop panic attacks from happening on their own. A doctor or psychiatrists is your best option for getting help. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about panic attacks and disorders, or to book an appointment with one of our psychiatrists.

 

Shocking Statistics About Anxiety and Depression

Even though there has been more focus and attention on mental health in recent years, people are still startled to see just how many people in America are suffering from a mental illness. Below are some statistics about the rate of anxiety and depression related mental illnesses that may shock some people.

 

Statistics by Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population.

 

Panic Disorder (PD): Panic disorder affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population.

 

Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population.

 

Specific Phobias: 19 million adults, or 8.7% of the U.S. population, have specific phobias.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1% of the U.S. population.

 

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S., are affected by PTSD.

 

Major Depressive Disorder: Major depression affects more than 16.1 million adults, or 6.7%, of Americans.

 

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD or Dysthymia): This form of long-lasting depression affects approximately 1.5% of the U.S. population, or 3.3 million adults.

 

General Statistics

 

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. It affects over 40 million adults, or 18.1% of the population. Anxiety is also common in children, affecting 25.1% of children between the ages of 13-18.

Most anxiety and depression disorders are more prevalent in females compared to males. OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder are some of the only mental illnesses that are equally common in both men and women.

Many people with anxiety and depression also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness. These additional disorders can make symptoms worse and recovery harder.

 

Conclusion

Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression disorders are extremely common in America. It’s important to shed light on the high numbers of those affected by such illnesses in order to decrease the stigma around them, increase awareness, and help get information and resources to those that need it. If you or someone you love is affected by any of these anxiety disorders and needs help, please contact us. We are here to help.

How Are Mental Illnesses Diagnosed?

Diagnosing an individual with a mental illness isn’t an easy task. Psychiatrists have to go through many steps and make sure to rule out other possible causes before putting a label on what someone is going through. Getting an accurate diagnosis can take weeks, months, or even years. It’s a process that combines the process of elimination and seeing what fits best. Since there’s no test or definitive way to tell if someone has a mental disorder, psychiatrists have to work extra hard to find the right diagnosis.

 

Diagnosis Steps

 

  1. Evaluation

Doctors will begin by evaluating a patient. They’ll discuss symptoms the individual is having as well as their medical history. If there are any instances of mental illness in the family it should be disclosed to doctors. Doctors will first make sure that there is no physical illness that could be causing the symptoms. They may run some tests to rule these out.

 

  1. Referral

If a person’s symptoms match that of a mental disorder, and there are no other signs of a physical disorder, a doctor will refer patients to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health professional. While a normal medical doctor may be able to hypothesis what disorder a patient has, the official diagnosis would come from a mental health professional.

 

  1. Psychological Evaluation

Psychiatrists and psychologists used a specifically designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate an individual for mental illness. They’ll look at the reported symptoms, including any and all social or functional problems that have been caused by the symptoms. They’ll also make their own observations of the patient’s attitudes and behavior.

 

  1. Diagnosis

After listening to the patient and making notes, the psychiatrist or psychologist will then begin looking at what diagnosis fit. Sometimes the symptoms can point directly to one mental illness but since many mental illnesses have similar symptoms, it usually can take awhile. The standard manual used by professionals to diagnose mental illnesses recognized in the US is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM), which is made by the American Psychiatrist Association.

 

  1. Treatment

After a patient receives a diagnosis, doctors will begin discussing treatment options and plans. People are more than welcome to seek out second opinions if they do not agree with their diagnosis. For most mental illnesses, psychiatrists recommend a combination of medications and therapy. What medications and what forms of therapy depend on the individual, the diagnosis, and the doctor.

 

In the past, when mental illness had such a negative stigma, a diagnosis was viewed as the end. In reality, receiving a diagnosis is the beginning. Once an individual knows what is going on with them they can begin treating it. They can begin to get back to their normal self.

If you believe that you may be suffering from a mental illness, or that someone you love is, contact us to set up an appointment. We are more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Historical Treatment Options for Depression

With all the focus and attention that mental health is getting currently, some people may be surprised to find that mental health issues are nothing new. People have been struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental disorders throughout history. Before antidepressants really boomed in the 1980’s, depression treatment options were very different then today.

Here are few of the most popular methods depression has been treated with throughout history.

Depression Treatment Medications

The 1980’s marked a huge shift in mental health, particularly in depression. With the invention of the antidepressant Prozac, people finally had a way to lift away the gray mist depressant cast around them. As huge as this was, it poses the question of what medication people used before.

There’s actually a long history of plant-based remedies that were used to treat depression. Each culture found local plants that they turned into medications. Unlike current antidepressants, these medicines were used to treat a wide variety of ailments, not just depression, such as coughs and fevers.

 

Here are some of the most common plant-based medicines that were used in history:

  • Opium Poppy: Opium, derived from the poppy plant, has been used in various forms to treat depression (and many other ailments) as early as 3rd millennium BC. It was known as the “Plant of Joy” as it enhanced the feeling of well-being.
  • Atropa Belladonna: Belladonna comes from the deadly plant, nightshade. In small doses, it has a calming effect and can stabilize the nervous system. It was sometimes mixed with other plants such as hashish.
  • Henbane and Thorn Apple: It was the ancient Egyptians that used these two herbs to help treat disorders.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol has a long history of being the go-to treatment option for a ton of injuries and disorders. It’s actually been the most recommended treatment option for melancholy up until the first half of this century. Many people today still self-medicate with alcohol to help cope with depression.
  • Other common treatments were poppy, Mandrake, hypericum oil, caffeine, cannabis and milk and barley mixtures. Eventually, substances like bromide (1826), codeine (1832), chloral hydrate (1869), paraldehyde (1882), and barbiturates were discovered and used.

 

Depression Therapy

There weren’t “psychiatrists” or “therapist” like there are now back in the day. Most patients went to local doctors, healers, or apothecaries. At some points, cultures turned to religion or magic for healing. Eventually, institutions were created for those suffering from mental disorders.

During the 14th century, so-called “madhouses” were created to treat the mentally ill. These were poorly run and looked more like dungeons than hospitals. The Middle East, has more modern and humane mental hospitals, originally just in Baghdad, but others sprung up in Damascus, Fez, and Cairo. The stereotypical images of mental hospitals were born out of this time, and the chains used to manacle patients took over 100 years to be banned.

As tangible advances were made with pharmaceuticals in the 19th century, therapy also progressed. Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and behavioral therapy were developed and implemented.

Electroconvulsive therapy is probably the type of treatment for depression people think of most when talking about historical treatment options. While it has been criticized for being cruel, harsh, and painful, it was the beginning for major advances. Many patients were initially forced to undergo such treatment if they were admitted to a mental institute. Eventually, the technology developed enough that some people with severe depression were willing choosing to undergo the process. Today, the procedure has been advanced so that it is safer, completely painless, and more effective.

 

Other Depression Treatments

Even today, psychiatrists recommend individuals suffering from depression to focus on self-love, self-happiness, and self-acceptance. People are encouraged to do activities and hobbies that bring them joy. There’s actually a historical precedent for this. Joyful and relaxing activities have historically been used to treat depression.

The Ancient Greek and Romans would use music, dancing, and acting as forms of therapy. Work, entertainment, and other forms of distractions were used too. They also performed cathartic temple massages. Physiotherapy was used in history too, with baths, massages, and gymnastics recommended to help depression.

Arabic doctors used their profound knowledge of science and medicine to treat those with mental ailments. They tried to cheer and encourage patients to read, play or listen to music, and even used sexual stimulation.

 

Conclusion

The historical treatment options for depression weren’t the best, but communities did well with what resources and information they had. Without the long history, the current modern treatments in medication and therapy psychiatrists’ use today may not exist. Still, we should be thankful that we live in a time where mental health is at the forefront of discussions and where there are tons of treatment options available to people with mental health issues.

Thankfully, we offer only the most innovative and modern treatment options at Delray Beach Psychiatrist. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your depression.

6 Tips For Dealing With Back To School Stress

Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a student, or just someone who now has to deal with back-to-school traffic, this time of year can bring on a whole load of stress. It’s a transition to get back into the school routine, plus the addition of homework, bedtimes, and social anxieties. As parents, a lot of this falls onto them. Here are a few tips for staying calm while dealing with all the back-to-school stress that September brings.

 

  1. Learn to identify it

Stress can be hard to identify, especially in children since they don’t always know how to verbally express it. Parents should look for anxiety symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, and a change in behavior such as throwing tantrums. The first step to helping your child is realizing there is a problem. If you’re an adult dealing with back-to-school stress, it’s also important that you identify and address that as well. As the leader of the family and this transitional time, if you’re not functioning then no one else is either.

 

  1. Listen to the child

As parents, it’s extremely easy to dismiss signs of stress in our children as them just not wanting to go do work in school.  Ask them why if they’re complaining about not wanting to go, or struggling with their work. There might be a root issue that is causing them this stress and anxiety. Are they having a problem with their teacher? Getting bullied? Do they have too much on their schedule? It’s best to tackle these issues on early on in the school year if possible. Kids might not always be able to tell us exactly what’s wrong, but listen to what they do say and try to help.

 

  1. Let them sleep

Bedtime can be a struggle for some families. It’s important though, as kids need more sleep than a lot of people realizes. Children up to 3rd grade require up to 12 hours per night! Even high schoolers still need 8-10 hours. Address factors that may be limiting sleep time, like a demanding schedule, using technology at night, or if they’re feeling stressed. Making sure your kids get enough sleep will be the best way you can help them function their best at school.

 

  1. Plan ahead

Structure is a great thing, and not just for kids. Knowing what the plans are for the week helps the whole family, from kids to parents, function better. Think about meals, laundry, activities, and free time. Juggling schedules can be the most stressful part of back to school season, but it can be managed. Find a scheduling system that works for you, whether that’s a calendar or a whiteboard. Planning ahead can benefit everyone.

 

  1. Hammer down homework time

A big thing kids don’t realize is that homework is just as annoying for parents and teachers as it is for them. Many schools are now reducing or even getting rid of homework altogether. But if you’re not one of those lucky parents, making sure your kids get their homework done is part of the stress. Help them when needed, but don’t do the work for them just because it’s faster. Make rules and stick to them, such as no snacks or technology until after homework is done.

 

  1. Make time for nothing

Over-scheduling kids can be just as bad as providing no structure. Having free time is beneficial to both students and parents. It allows them the freedom to express themselves. Make time for unstructured playtime, downtime before bed, and family time. Florida psychiatrists say free time is important for de-stressing and developing an identity.

 

If you are finding the back-to-school stress unmanageable, or have any more questions, feel free to contact us and set up an appointment.

 

5 Myths About Couples Therapy

Couples therapy (or “marriage counseling”) has a bad reputation. For many people, it marks the beginning of the end. There are dozens of myths and misconceptions surrounding couples therapy. The truth is that having a neutral third party mediate issues can be extremely beneficial. The reason people see it as the “kiss of death” is because they’re going too late. Here are 5 myths about couples therapy that we’ve debunked.

 

Myth 1: You Don’t Need It

Here’s a truth that we at Delray Beach Psychiatrist really believe: everyone can benefit from therapy. That same can be said for couples. Couples therapy isn’t just there to fix issues, it’s there to prevent them from becoming big problems. Attacking an issue head on prevents it from becoming something too big and unmanageable. Couples therapy is great for even the happiest and most functioning couples. There will always be problems and there will always be a way to do things better. Therapy can help with both of those things so that things keep moving smoothly.

 

Myth 2: It Marks The End of The Relationship

Often, couples therapy leads to the end of a relationship because it makes both parties realize they either can’t or won’t, work on the issues. If discussing your relationship causes it to fall apart, chances are it was going to without therapy anyways. Many couples come to couples therapy as a last resort. This can be too late. That’s why going to therapy consistently and early is the best bet.

 

Myth 3: Only Weak Couples Go

Ask any couple who’s been to therapy and they’ll tell you it’s not easy or for the weak. It takes hard work to open up, face problems, and work on a relationship. Think of a therapist like your marriage coach, someone to guide you through the game and give you advice. The same people that think therapy is for the weak are the same people that think that sunscreen isn’t necessary. In both cases, they’ll be the ones ending up burned.

 

Myth 4: The Therapist Will Just Meddle In The Relationship

A therapist isn’t a meddler; they’re a mediator. Very rarely will a couple’s therapist tell a couple what to do, and they’ll never side with one partner over the other. They provide exercises, tools, and guidance on how to communicate and deal with problems. Nothing happens in your relationship unless you want it to. A therapist might recommend an exercise but if you aren’t comfortable or willing just let them know. They might push a bit but a good marriage counselor will come up with an alternative. Most couple therapists simply work as a mediator, making sure you understand what one another are saying and feeling.

 

Myth 5: It Will Work Like Magic

Therapy can be great; it can really help both the individual and the relationship. However, it’s not a miracle worker.  It’s important to go into it with realistic expectations. A therapist will give you tools but it’s ultimately up to you to use them. Don’t give up if one therapist doesn’t work for you either. Every person and couple need different things. Therapy isn’t magic, it’s not one-size fits all, and it ultimately comes down to you to do the work.

 

Contact us to set up a couple’s therapy appoint or if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

7 Professions At Risk For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that is often developed after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It’s a disorder most commonly associated with the military and soldiers. However, that is not the only occupation that is at risk for developing this disorder.

Certain professionals are at a higher risk for developing PTSD and other disorders. Traumatic events, such as sexual assault, combat, or accidents, are common causes of PTSD. There are a number of professions that directly experiencing such events often, if not daily.

Here are 7 professions that are most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder:

  1. Military

It should come at no surprise that those working in the military are at a high risk for developing PTSD. Combat veterans develop the disorder at different rates but this is the profession with the highest risk. It’s not just the combat, injuries, or death that military personnel experience either. A large number of individuals in the military report experiencing sexual harassment and assault which results in PTSD.

 

  1. Police Officers

Law enforcement officers are exposed to a number of serious threats and stressful situations daily. They often witness traumatic events or the effects of such actions on the victims. Only about 10% of police officers experience PTSD. This lower than expected number is likely because police officers receive opportunities and are encouraged to engage with mental health professions. There are rules in place to help combat them from developing PTSD, for example after a shooting, officers are required to undergo therapy to cope. Police officers are also screened before getting hired to ensure they have stable mental health.

 

  1. Firefighters

Firefighters deal with more than fires. They are the first responders to vehicle accidents and natural disasters in most countries. It is an extremely hazardous profession. Firefighters experience stress daily, from situations that threaten their own safety to having to aid in catastrophes. The rate of PTSD in firefighters is estimated to be as high as 20%.

 

  1. Emergency Medical and Ambulance Personal

EMS and ambulance workers are routinely exposed to high stress situations many that are literally life and death situations. This profession has a high rate of PTSD, as high as 20%. When pre-employment screening and easy access to mental health services are provided the rate goes down significantly.

 

  1. Healthcare Workers

Other health care workers, particularly those that work in emergency rooms or intensive care units, are at higher risk to develop PTSD. There are many variables when looking at healthcare workers though. The units worked in greats impacts the rate at which this disorder develops. The ICU, ER, and those that work directly with victims of assault, have higher rates than those that work in other units.

 

  1. Journalists

You may think that being a journalist is a fairly low risk job for PTSD. For most it is, but those that work as war correspondents are exposed to increased risk of personal threats such as injuries, kidnappings, or death. The rate among these individuals for PTSD is close to 30%. A big cause of this high number is likely the lack of support and resources available to these individuals.

 

  1. First Responders

First responders are the rescue workers, medical workers, and volunteers that are the first to arrive and aid after a disaster as struck. This could either be a natural disaster such as a wildfire or hurricane, or even a terrorist attack such as a school shooting or bombing. These individuals witness these traumatic events and the aftermath first hand. The prevalence of PTSD among this profession is between 15-30%.

 

If you work in one of these professions and feel like you might be experiencing symptoms of PTSD, please contact us.