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Mended Little HeartGuide

Diagnosis 3 In The A Note About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Some parents of children with CHD report that they feel like they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These feelings sometimes occur more than a year after their child’s diagnosis or heart surgery and can even surface years later as their child reaches adulthood. It is undoubtedly traumatic to have a child diagnosed with a heart defect, to watch a child go through surgery or other procedures and to wait on treatment to save your child, and many parents and caregivers may have symptoms of PTSD. However, it is important to note that PTSD is a medical diagnosis with specific criteria and symptoms. PTSD can occur after experiencing a traumatic event, witnessing a traumatic event in person or even learning about a close family member or friend’s traumatic event. Symptoms include re-experiencing the event, either in dreams or through memories and flashbacks; having distressing memories, thoughts, feelings or reminders of the event; blaming oneself or others; avoiding interaction with others, especially those associated with the trauma; and the inability to remember key pieces of the event. These symptoms must be continuous for at least one month for a PTSD diagnosis. Treatment for PTSD depends on its severity. If you have had symptoms of PTSD continuously for at least a month or if you have severe symptoms that are impacting your life, seek counseling from someone who treats PTSD. If your symptoms are not impacting your daily life but are bothering you to some lesser degree, consider talking with others who have worked through similar symptoms to learn how they handled them. Simply sharing experiences can be a helpful, healthy way to manage PTSD symptoms. Get help from a counselor or specialist if… • You have suicidal thoughts. (Get help IMMEDIATELY!) • You feel sad all the time. • You can’t get out of bed. • You have thoughts of violence toward others. • You can’t eat or start overeating regularly. • You can’t sleep. • You are turning to alcohol or drugs to cope. • You have consistent headaches, aches, pains or other physical problems not associated with a disease or illness. 1 General Information 2 Prenatal Hospital 4 Living With CHD 5 Forms 21


Mended Little HeartGuide
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