PTSD happens to civilians, too

In a special report, ABC4 looks into the increasing prevalence of post traumatic stress disorder. 

Dr. Todd Thatcher, the Chief Medical Officer for Valley Behavioral Health, told ABC4 Utah’s Rick Aaron any kind of trauma can cause PTSD.

A car crash, a violent crime or ongoing trauma like domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse.

The disorder causes anxiety, depression, nightmares and paralyzing flashbacks.

Amber Swartz, a Utah County mother of two, said she experienced trauma and now suffers from panic attacks and nightmares.

“I would wake up with these emotions and I would essentially be in a full blow panic attack stuck. This looked like me being hunched in, curled up in a corner, I would shake like my hands and I couldn't really perceive what was going on around me. I was stuck in my mind,” said Amber Swartz, PTSD patient.

Amber is now improving with the help of cognitive therapy. She said she now has breathing and posture techniques that help her handle the overwhelming emotions.

Doctors say people with PTSD don’t have to suffer. Help is available in the form of therapy and medication.

In the special report, "Traumatized," Rick Aaron looks into this often misunderstood condition and what treatment is available Monday on ABC4 Utah news at 10. 


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