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Social Media Cues and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Written by susanholzapfel

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In 2012 the VA diagnosed nearly 30 percent of combat veterans treated at VA hospitals as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While this number is certainly high, it is worth asking: how many combat vets slip through the cracks going undiagnosed?

social-media-Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder

As it is, we know that many of those suffering from PTSD do not complete treatment or refuse it altogether. Gary Wynn, a research psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Army Institute has estimated that of those seeking treatment as many as 20 to 50 percent do not complete it. Last Year, the Washington Times, echoing Wynn’s belief, surveyed military spouses who put the number of PTSD sufferers going untreated at over 60 percent.

Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

What is PTSD and how does it develop?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that develops after witnessing a traumatic event such as military combat. Symptoms of the disorder include situation avoidance, extreme anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness, freezing up and reliving the event. PTSD often correlates with substance abuse, depression, chronic pain, employment-related issues, interpersonal problems and suicide.

Why do some veterans refuse treatment?

There is no simple answer to this question. Oft attributed reasons include:

  • Lack of trust with mental health professionals
  • Mentality that the problem will go away on its own
  • Shame/loss of dignity
  • Fear of repercussions i.e. not being able to find employment or being dismissed from service
  • Social stigmatization

The good news is that PTSD is treatable. A wide variety of psycho-therapy and certain medications exist that often bring about a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life. Thus it becomes incumbent upon us to help our pained loved ones find the strength to accept treatment.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The first step in offering a helping hand is identifying that someone is in need. Given the time we live in, social media can provide us with unique insight into a person’s psyche. With social withdrawal as the hallmark sign of depression, it is not surprising that research has found that those most active on sites such as Facebook between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. suffer from higher rates of depression. Status updates and tweets should be viewed as cues, depression often manifests itself on social media via language. The same study concluded that those suffering from depression often post linguistic patterns containing negative words like “death, depression, life, pain and suicide.”

Exacerbating the problem is the prevalence of those who use Facebook to compare themselves to others. Research pointed to by Time Magazine found that of 600 people studied, one in three reported negative feelings such as loneliness, envy and misery after logging on.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

If you feel uncomfortable directly approaching someone about what you have seen online, remember, Facebook has a built-in protocol for suicidal behavior in users. Once content is reported, a safety team evaluates and verifies it and the user who originally posted it will get a direct message stating “someone on Facebook is worried about you.” The user is then given an option to directly and immediately talk with a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We share a responsibility to our fellow person. A hug, kindness, words of encouragement or maybe just a smile all go a long way. The knowledge that someone else is concerned may make a difference, perhaps even acting as the catalyst for that person to seek a qualitative change.

Philippians 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

-Noah Perkins is the CMS for VA Home Loan Centers (https://www.vahomeloancenters.org). VA Home Loan Centers is a veteran and active duty military service organization. If you or someone you know is a a veteran that is suffering from PTSD, call the veteran crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.

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About the author

susanholzapfel

Noah Perkins is the CMS for VA Home Loan Centers. VA Home Loan Centers is a veteran and active duty military service organization. If you or someone you know is a a veteran that is suffering from PTSD, call the veteran crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.

2 Comments

  • hello, i just want to say thank you to a great man who has turn my life around, who has made my life so peaceful i have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder for years (PTSD). I have actually lost hope as i thought there is no cure until i meant Dr Olumba who made me smile again and restore my life.all i did was to follow all he ask and after that he promise he was going to cast the spell which him did and after that all was okay with me just like that i thought it was a dream but today am perfectly okay and living fine. If you are suffering from PSTD or any mental illness just contact [email address removed by moderator]

  • It’s unfortunate that people do not seek help or treatment when suffering from such a terrible mental health disorder. Please know you are not alone, many of us suffer from it even if it’s due to different traumatic experiences. I personally struggle to pay for my medication and often find myself using [link removed] to get by.

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