We Ask an Expert About the Common Causes of PTSD
When Elevate’s own Aspen Jewel and Dr. Merchant went live on FB a while back, they dove right into the subject of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes. But first, a bit about Tyler Merchant, DO: He’s one of our wonderful and compassionate cannabis doctors at Elevate Holistics. In addition, he’s the medical director of Holistic Family Medicine and Obstetrics LLC, located in Sedalia, MO.
Dr. Merchant’s Experience
While he is not a psychiatrist, Dr. Merchant has seen his fair share of people living with PTSD. According to him “With PTSD, and to be upfront with everybody here who’s listening in, I am not a PTSD expert, focused just on PTSD. That’s not my sole expertise, and I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m a family doctor, but I work a lot with patients with mood disorders and traumas.”
After listening to his experiences and insights, it’s apparent that Dr. Merchant has some super-helpful knowledge and understanding to share from a medical standpoint. When Aspen jumped right in with causes of PTSD questions, he offered some real and raw answers.
What Are PTSD Causes?
Aspen (Elevate Holistics): So let’s just talk about PTSD. And how does someone get PTSD? How does it work? What is it?
Dr. Merchant: Good question. So we actually at this point, don’t have a firm understanding of the actual pathophysiology or meaning of the process that it takes. Or why some people get it when exposed to this thing that other people can. But then again, I guess it’s the same as with depression or anxiety. Why are some people more predisposed to things than others? But typical triggers aren’t really that surprising. So a significant number is, for example, combat veterans. Even people who actually haven’t been in the line of fire or in a situation where they witnessed gruesome deaths in front of them or bad injuries but even just the thought of being someplace that is dangerous can provoke, can be a trigger for it in some folks.
Kinds of PTSD Triggers
We tend to think of soldiers with PTSD and how war is what triggers PTSD. But Dr. Merchant points out that PTSD in rape victims is common as well. Warning: some of this may be difficult to read.
Dr. Merchant: One thing that’s been kind of surprising to me though, and it’s only just from having more and more experience, unfortunately. Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. I mean, it’s a very rewarding thing to work with PTSD patients. But it’s also quite sad to see how many people suffer from this on an ongoing basis. And from what I’ve seen in this—I don’t pretend to make it represent statistically what is out there in the country. But from what I’ve seen, it’s actually been, I would say less than a third of the patients that I see have PTSD from things like military service or combat experience.
I’ve seen far more people, unfortunately, over the last few months who have been victims of kidnappings, rapes and as disgusting and depressing as it is, unfortunately at the hands of people who are very close. I’ve had people who said my brother’s best friend, my uncle, my father. I had somebody even say, I was raped several times a week for 10 years straight.
Aspen (Elevate Holistics): That’s so hard. It’s even hard to hear.
Dr. Merchant: If you put yourself in this position, to have endured, to have suffered that once is awful, but to have it on an ongoing basis, repetitive abuse is just awful. And so that’s one side of things. So that’s the kind of trauma of “I’ve been a victim, I’ve experienced these things.” So that’s one piece.