- Reliving the cancer experience in nightmares or flashbacks and by continuously thinking about it.
- Avoiding places, events, and people connected to the cancer experience.
- Being continuously overexcited, fearful, irritable, and unable to sleep.
Monday, February 27, 2012
PTSD and Cancer Survivors
I attend a support group. We talk a lot, just ask Julie our social worker. Sometimes we laugh when we think about parrots and Topotecan treatment and sometimes we cry. We also share information with each other. My friend and OC survivor,Pam, recently sent me a link to the Mayo Clinic blog Living with Cancer blog written by Sheryl Ness, RN about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cancer survivors. You might think of PTSD as an anxiety disorder that occurs only in combat situations or when your life is threatened in a natural disaster or a physical assault. You can learn more about PTSD on this PubMed Health page.
But studies have found PTSD may also occur in cancer patients. We experience a life-threatening medical diagnosis. We experience shock in hearing our diagnosis and as cancer survivors live longer our lives may receive repeated threats as we face recurrences. The NCI has a excellent section on its site dealing with PTSD.
"PTSD in cancer survivors may be expressed in these specific behaviors:
To be diagnosed as PTSD, these symptoms must last for at least one month and cause significant problems in the patient's personal relationships, employment, or other important areas of daily life. Patients who have these symptoms for less than one month often develop PTSD later. "
To read more please Click here for the NCI section.
If you have the feelings described above or you are a caregiver of a loved one who is expressing these behaviors please speak to your health care provider.
Every Day is a Blessing!