Friday, November 4, 2011

Fighting Cancer and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A year after my diagnosis, I remember a conversation when I was explaining how I mentally I felt like someone who had returned from war.  I felt disconnected.  I had flashbacks.  I remember thinking it was like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A few years later, a number of articles are published linking the diagnosis of cancer to PTSD - for me it was a revelation - it made sense.  see: Many cancer survivors suffer from PTSD.

My symptoms seemed slightly different, particularly the avoidance part of it.  There are definitely many parts of my memory that I have blocked, and some things I avoid - but others, particularly those people who stood by me, are so connected - that I have difficulty trusting anyone but them.

I thought the study was interesting when it suggested that it can worsen over time.

I don't think it's the majority of cancer patients, but it's important to consider.  Cancer patients should seek help if they are struggling with depression years after diagnosis.  Treatment for PTSD can help them move toward healing, and it doesn't seem to go away on its own if it's not treated...

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