My mother was in the emergency room. We were laughing and talking. Then she said “I’m gonna die.” She looked away, and within a minute, she died. Could I be suffering from PTSD? I see this in my mind every day. It’s been a year and a half. I still cry a lot

I am so sorry to know this happened to you. Considering the situation, I would need additional information to answer your question, however, you are at risk of having PTSD. The best solution I can provide is to encourage you to schedule an appointment with a therapist or a psychiatrist, so that they can complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine if you are suffering from a mental health disorder, such as PTSD, and provide you with safe and appropriate treatment recommendations.

So, is there a difference between anxiety and just being nervous? I get nervous in some situations like interviewing and when I feel unprepared when giving a speech. I start feeling hot, sweaty and my hands start shaking. It’s like a tingling all over, a heightened sense of stress if you will. This feeling recently came over me in line at the movies when I thought I would miss out on the last two seats! Is this anxiety?

Yes! This is a perfect example of anxiety or nervousness. So, there is natural/healthy or anxiety/worry that a person feels when preparing for a speech or before an interview. When people feel this type of nervousness, it can be uncomfortable, however it can also work in a person’s favor.

Clinical studies have shown us that having some natural anxiety can help us to perform at our best. Healthy anxiety also “kicks in” when you are in a life threatening or dangerous situation, your body will respond much more quickly because of your anxiety. However, if you experience the symptoms you mentioned on a regular basis, at an intense level and it interferes with your functioning, I advise you to consult with your doctor.

 Anxiety will likely come when a person is unprepared, as you mentioned in your question. So, the best way to prevent being unprepared is to prepare ahead of time for important tasks and events; this will help ease the anxiety that you may experience.

I have an 11-year-old daughter diagnosed with PTSD and depressive anxiety. She is a swimmer and has had panic attacks in the water. Any suggestions besides additional medication?

Considering the situation, I would need additional information to answer your question (i.e. What led to the diagnosis of PTSD? Is being in the water a trigger for her?, What other symptoms is she endorsing? What are the current medical, emotional and social stressors that she is trying to manage?

These, and other questions would be important in determining the management options for your daughter. Medication, when therapeutic, can be helpful for anxiety disorders however, clinical studies have revealed that the combination of medication management and therapy is most helpful with managing anxiety. If she is not engaging in therapy, I would recommend you discuss this option with her doctor.

Dawn Kamilah Brown (Dr. Dawn Psych MD), America’s favorite ADHD Expert, is a double-board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. She is the owner, CEO and sole practitioner at ADHD Wellness Center and has two private practice locations in Texas; she also has a growing virtual presence, offering online appointments. She is a pioneer of the Mental Health Movement, and a nationally recognized #1 best-selling author, ADHD coach, public speaker, and professional mentor.

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