PTSD and myths

By Aleezeh Fatimah Hashmi
Fri, 07, 20

PTSD, as reported through various resources, is a set of reactions that can occur possibly after an individual has experienced something traumatic....


The world has drastically changed in the last five years. Not just economically and socially, but in relation to acceptance of things that were ignored previously, due to taboos attached to them. Mental health is one such issue that is now frequently discussed and, in a country like ours where such topics aren’t even acknowledged, it’s a big achievement. However, there are still some illnesses that aren’t discussed openly; as a result, even though they occur very often, the patients continue to suffer in silence. One of such undiscussed illness is PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD, as reported through various resources, is a set of reactions that can occur possibly after an individual has experienced something traumatic. According to experts, it has the highest chances of occurring in the following groups of people: a) people who had traumatic childhoods, b) people in abusive relationships and c) those who fought wars. The chance of the type of PTSD developed is based on the trauma experienced by the one suffering but, according to recent statistical researches, out of 10 people in every society, at least two are suffering from PTSD.

This disease is complex and hard to treat but it is not life threatening. Out of numerous myths associated with it, one is that people suffering from PTSD are violent and dangerous for people around them. In establishment of this myth a major role is played by the movies that show characters with PTSD who, out of nowhere, attack people in their surroundings. In reality, however, aggressiveness is not a prominent symptom; it is intrusive thoughts, nightmares, trouble concentrating, avoiding the people, places and anything associated with the trauma, flashbacks or feeling that event is happening again, insomnia and guilt that haunt PTSD patients.

Keeping the ongoing situation of pandemic in focus, people with PTSD can have it worse. Due to Covid 19, a number of people are quarantined and a huge population forced to stay at home. People who used their routines to escape from homes have no option than to sit and deal with whatever has been going on in their mind. The realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, abusive families, fear of contracting the virus and worry about the people close to us are challenging and somehow pushing us back into the pit we got out after so much struggle. It’s a sad time for everyone but for people fighting with diseases like PTSD, it’s even harder.

At times like these, instead of trusting myths going around in our society, we should try and educate ourselves more about such diseases, so that we could be more understanding and empathic towards these people since they are already going through a tough time. Mental health campaigns are of no use if we are not ready to accept and understand anything beyond depression and anxiety. Acceptance plays an important role in challenging and changing the rotten concepts. Its high time we should start acting rather than just talking because talking certainly doesn’t change things miraculously; words require actions.