LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The announcement that Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory had voluntarily checked himself into rehab for alcoholism and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder sparks the question, What is PTSD and how is it treated?

On Monday KLFY spoke with an expert to explain alcoholism and its treatment.  

Today we are speaking with a counselor about the signs and challenges of PTSD.

According to the National Center for PTSD, it is important to remember that not everyone who lives through a dangerous event develops PTSD.

In fact, reports show about 6 in every 100 people or 6% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives

Maria “Mica” Istre, LPC is the Owner and CEO of Tree of Life Counseling and Consulting of Lafayette who says PTSD is an anxiety-based disorder.

“The first early sign is a lot of anxiety and that can look like a loss of appetite, feeling on edge, restlessness,” Istre said.

She added that PTSD symptoms can include avoidance of things they use to engage in often or things that trigger the memory of the trauma.  

“That’s very common after a month of someone being exposed to any kind of traumatic event that could include sexual assault, childhood abuse, combat, war zone as well as natural disasters which we due experience quite often here in Acadiana.”

She says left untreated, PTSD can be debilitating.

“The thing that’s great is our brains have the capacity to heal.  We do have PTSD protocols like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)  that are very effective in healing the brain and the trauma responses to help someone build and rebuild their life to thrive again,” Istre explained.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, PTSD symptoms differ from normal upsetting memories where one can feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event and says at first it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it has been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD.