Violent crimes can cause unimaginable trauma, leaving survivors with physical injuries and mental harm that can last a lifetime.
This lingering psychological damage is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the challenging road to recovery presents unique obstacles for those affected by violent crime.
How violent crime can lead to PTSD
Experiencing a violent crime can have an immense impact on the fear and mental health of individuals. PTSD can arise from the severe psychological distress caused by such events, resulting in difficulty functioning in everyday life. It affects how a person reacts to memories, thoughts, feelings and smells associated with the crime, making it difficult to cope with regular activities.
Symptoms such as intense anxiety, flashbacks and insomnia could disrupt an individual’s capacity to live normally. Even those directly affected by the crime may not be the only ones who suffer; spouses or family members could also experience secondary PTSD due to their exposure to trauma.
Treatment for PTSD includes psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), mental health medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), counseling and support groups. It can take some time to find the best combination of treatments.
Self-care is also essential when managing the effects of PTSD. Some practical tips include:
- Establishing a daily routine to give you structure
- Taking time to relax and practice breathing exercises
- Engaging in activities that bring joy or comfort
- Staying connected with friends or family members who are supportive
It’s also important to know your legal options. Compensation can help cover medical expenses, treatments and any time off from work. Knowing that your financial needs are met allows you to navigate the healing process in your own time.