Good morning. I believe my best friend is experiencing PTSD. He’s 29 years old and is not himself anymore. He gets admitted to a mental hospital, comes out and is fine but in 2 weeks he’s back to flipping out. I’m so scared he is going to try to kill himself what should I do?

Greetings, I can appreciate your concern for your friend.  Safety issues first.  If not already done, you might consider speaking to your friend about passive thoughts of death/dying or even thoughts of self-harm.  If at all possible, seek to enter a verbal agreement with him that he will contact you or someone else if he cannot ensure his own safety. A safety plan may also help.

 In regards to your concern about PTSD, it is certainly within the realm of possibilities that his multiple hospitalizations could related to unresolved trauma and undiagnosed PTSD.  The question is does he follow up with out-patient recommendations once released from inpatient treatment?  If so, encourage him to open up and be honest with his therapist.

This will require that he is first honest with himself. That can be difficult, as for some individuals.  If trauma is at issue, it may be too painful to discuss.  He could benefit from journaling or writing  his feelings down.  He may then decide to share them with a trusted therapist.  Please advise him not to give up and to educate himself.  Please consider contacting one of the many resources listed in this article.

Tom I deal with PTSD after being raped at a young age and acar accident. Because of this, I go through depression and anxiety. What is the real bad part is that I have a child from the rape and I see him every day and try to deal with it but it is very hard.

Thoughts of support go out to you. You have gone through a horrific experience. Please know that YOU DID NOT DESERVE it.  It is not your fault. I would suppose that your love for your child can also serve as a reminder of this heinous act.  My suggestion is to not go it alone!!! Your depression and anxiety are signs that you may need help.

Please find a trusted therapist and do not give up on your search until you find a match.  Please use this article for treatment resources. It is treatable! One method is based on the premise that your thoughts will influence your behavior.  It focuses on negative or unhelpful thoughts that cause depression and anxiety and teaches ways to replacement them with more positive and helpful thoughts. Remember, you are the role model for your child. Get the help that you need so that he/she can model a loving/positive parent.

I’m still suffering from PTSD after making the decision to remove my mother off life-support, 26 years ago.

Wow. What a difficult decision that must have been.  Firstly, let me normalize your feelings. Your response is totally understandable. It took courage to come to that conclusion.  If it still feels raw and real 26 years later, you may need to tap into that same courage to deal with the residual feelings. It’s a quality of life issue.  If you are not living your best life, you may want to consider getting into therapy. Don’t be afraid of it. Many participate and are helped. Please reach out to family, primary care physicians and refer to help resources in this article.

I’ve been seeing someone for depression. I have always thought I suffered from PTSD. I held my best friend while he died. I grew up in constant defense mode, always fighting. I’ve been shot at. A knife was put to my throat by my mother’s boyfriend when I was 17. He’s pulled a gun on me as well. I have isolated myself from people I grew up with. It just reminds me of a horrible past. I was adopted and grew up in a not-so-friendly neighborhood. I experience pretty much all of the symptoms the doctor mentioned.

So you know first-hand that trauma is real ! Like many people, it sounds like you’ve experienced multiple traumas throughout your life. You are not alone. What will be important is to focus your thoughts on being a SURVIVOR! After you dealt with the past trauma, it will be important to put it behind you and focus on grounding in the present moment, where I hope you can feel a sense of safety and security in knowing that those perpetrators can no longer bring harm to you. Stick with it… don’t give up on therapy. Also consider seeing a psychiatrist to determine if medications may also be a part of the solution.

I suffer from PTSD from 3 police brutality incidents and a head-on car accident. I can’t watch car accidents or police brutality incidents on social media or in real time. I can’t sleep after watching or riding in a car. I panic at cars that get too close. I tried to watch the Central Park Five. Can’t watch. While I was in a jail cell, the police thought I was dead. I thought I saw someone that was not there in the cell. I suffer anxiety and fear even while driving with Lyft. The flashbacks are terrible.

My sympathies for your injuries. I hope you have taken the opportunity to make sure that you did not suffer from a traumatic brain injury due to the car accident. This is relevant, because it could leave you with residual cognitive (thinking), behavioral and emotional challenges.  This could make dealing with the trauma more difficult.

This scenario of police brutality is playing too many times in our communities. It leaves the victim traumatized with feeling a sense of insecurity in the world. You can improve the quality of your life by seeking assistance.  Please refer to the references listed in this article. There are online resources, apps that you can download to help and other agencies who can provide guidance. Consider ways to help yourself with meditation, deep breathing, and staying present in the moment (mindfulness).The point is, get help!

Good morning, Ask the Dr. about PTSD in regards to police and corrections officers, I’ve heard they suffer with it in high numbers.

Thanks so much for bringing attention to this issue, as we did not have time to address it during the morning show interview.  Yes, you are correct. The prevalence of PTSD is very high in law enforcement, fire fighters, corrections officers and all first responders. In addition, with implicit racial bias, one of the problems, as I see it, is the lack of general awareness on wellbeing in law enforcement.

I have found that they are a closed group who rely on each other for support. If there is no attention given to the emotional wellness of our officers, you get disturbed and short-tempered people who become limited in their commitment to protect and serve. Congress is addressing the issue of changing benefits and coverage for those who are identified as having PTSD. The problems is that so many of them have experienced trauma and have no awareness of the emotional toll it can have. I am of the belief that there need to be more emphasis on professionally trained peer mental health support to assist our first responders.

I can’t go anywhere without being able to see the exit. I jump in my sleep. I saw my uncle killed and countless other tragic events growing up in New Orleans. I believe I have PTSD – what do you think?

Yes, it sounds like it. Your point is well taken, you don’t need to be a victim; you can suffer from PTSD if you witness a tragedy as well. Your symptoms are classic: heightened sense of arousal, sleep problems and avoidance behaviors. If available, please reach out to your support network, such as family and friends to help process this unfortunate accident.

If that is not an option, seek assistance by a trained therapist.  It is not a sign of weakness to see a therapist who can assist in helping you to move forward with a healthy mindset and peach of mind. Please refer to the multiple references above for help. 

My 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing her aunt shot 3 times and her grandmother being killed in the same domestic violence incident. She was 7 at the time.

Unfortunately, PTSD is common in children and teenagers. I assume that she received treatment, as it appears that someone provided the diagnosis. You did not mention if she is still struggling with symptoms.  If so, it is also common that people can struggle for years. If not still in treatment, consider do so, as we have more treatment options than when she was first diagnosed 9 years ago. Continue to provide love and support.

After I came home from Iraq, I didn’t know I had PTSD until I divorced and my family members and friends started to avoid me. I just take it one day at a time. It is absolutely a stigma in the Black community.

What better person to deal with mental health stigma than someone who has experienced it! Welcome to my world as a mental health professional. Stigma is as real as PTSD. It keeps people from seeking needed treatment, but you may be surprised by who is or has been in treatment with a therapist. Your response of isolating yourself is classic. And it’s unfortunate that your relationships did not survive. I heard one military veteran explain, “It makes you lose your humanity.”

It’s important that we start to educate ourselves on the topic of mental wellbeing.  The stigma related to mental illness in the Black community is significant. We are improving, but there is much work to do.  I typically educate my patients that symptoms do not equal weakness. I also believe that if you have a brain, it can happen to you! Carry that message! Taking it one day at a time is CRITICAL! You’ve mastered that concept. 

GM Fam, I served in the Marines & my wife in the Army. We both suffer with PTSD so crazy knows crazy but we always balance each other out.

I am glad that you have each other.  The outcome for full recovery is better for those who have a solid and loving support system. I encourage you to continue to provide support for each other and will use YOUR word; while “crazy knows crazy,” at least you two are not NUTS! As you can see, humor is a useful coping tool.

What about the images that we as Black people see on a daily basis of being killed by the police, having the police called on us for living our day-to-day lives, having anxiety about walking down the street in your own neighborhood and feeling unsafe around white people?

You tap into a significant area, that we did not have time to discuss during the morning show interview.  The issue of racial trauma is also real. I and so many others, live with it on a daily basis. We need to speak about it more.

 Make a choice to live in the light, with positivity and love. It is always there even in the darkest and most difficult times!!!      Doc Shane



PHOTO: Dr. Dodd Courtesy





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