Source: NBC Montana
Author: Jacqueline Gedeon

Specialist discusses effects of post-traumatic stress disorder

BOZEMAN, Mont. –

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an issue that professionals and counselors see in law enforcement officials and first responders. We spoke with one professional about what PTSD is, where it comes from, and whether symptoms of violence usually come with it.

A Bozeman man is on trial for shooting and killing one man and injuring another.  Cody Little’s attorney says Little’s actions came from being unstable with post-traumatic stress disorder after spending four years in the military.

Carol Staben-Burroughs works with people with a variety of mental health disorders.

“I work with a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder, specifically with law enforcement and other emergency services people,” said Staben-Burroughs.

She’s a licensed clinical professional counselor. She said people develop PTSD after they experience traumatic incidents like a car wreck, rape or combat.

Staben-Burroughs said the incidents cause a chemical response in the brain.

“It can create changes in the brain that then lead to changes in behavior and emotional reactivity and physical signs and symptoms,” said Staben-Burroughs.

She said from people who are suffering from PTSD often have anxiety, trouble sleeping, heightened responses when startled, and they may become less social than they used to be. It can interfere with everyday life, work and relationships.

Violence can also be an effect, though Staben-Burroughs said they don’t see that often.

“Once in a while you’ll see somebody act out in violence, but that’s not a typical reaction,” said Staben-Burroughs.

She said PTSD can be managed.  Talking or writing about the incident can help the person process what happened to them. A lot of exercise can also make a difference.

“There’s hope, and there’s help out there,” said Staben-Burroughs.