Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Chronic Illness
After receiving a lot of feedback on a recent column I published on PF News, I wanted to share it here with our forums community. Much of the feedback I received came from other patients commenting or reflecting on whether they too have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an acute exacerbation, lung transplantation or intensive care stay … but just didn’t know it.
I believe PTSD is a lot more common than we think among those living with a chronic illness, especially with a disease where a basic ability for survival (ie. breathing) is jeopardized. I was diagnosed with PTSD after a prolonged and complicated hospital admission, and recently wrote a column titled PTSD is Common in Chronically Ill Patients. Here’s How I Address It.
I chose to write this column, which I felt really vulnerable writing about, for two reasons:
a) I wanted to help illuminate that patients who are chronically ill might be living with PTSD and offer tips on how to manage it.
b) Debunk some of the myths about PTSD. Namely, that it is only caused by an external event like an assault, war, major accident etc. PTSD is a response to how your body perceives a threat, internal or external. For me, that was intubation and being restrained in the ICU.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD (or have in the past) know that you aren’t alone. If you aren’t sure whether this is something you might have, speak with your doctor or learn more about it on credible websites.
What are your thoughts on whether or not chronically ill patients experience PTSD more than we think?
What do you do to work through trauma or stress-related issues related to your IPF/PF diagnosis?
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