Skip to Main Content

PTSD: Not Limited to the Military

PTSD: Not Limited to the Military

Dr. Eric Lydon, MD, president of Sensible Psychiatric Services in Louisville, discusses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
S11 E20 Length 27:09 Premiere: 2.21.16

PTSD: Not Limited to the Military

Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are both highly common, spanning all segments of the population, and very treatable. In recent years, the medical community has learned more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for these conditions – and in the case of PTSD in particular, this new knowledge has expanded the way we think about the disorder as one that is not limited to survivors of combat.

In this episode of Kentucky Health, host Dr. Wayne Tuckson interviews a Louisville-based psychiatrist to find out the root causes and similarities between depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and to learn about the best practices for treating them and helping patients regain emotional stability.

Dr. Eric Lydon, M.D., is a psychiatrist in practice with Sensible Psychiatric in Louisville, and a graduate of the University of Louisville’s medical school. During his years of practice, Lydon has treated patients from all walks of life with depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD.

PTSD: Lingering Impact of Traumatic Events
Though most often associated with war veterans, PTSD can and does often impact survivors of other severely traumatic events, ranging from automobile and industrial accidents and natural disasters to domestic abuse.

For Lydon, the common thread among those suffering from PTSD is that the triggering event threatened their physical integrity in some way. “When your personal integrity and personal safety are in jeopardy, it heightens your arousal and puts you on edge,” he says.

When Lydon meets with patients who have PTSD, he searches through their personal history to isolate that triggering event and gain a better understanding of how it altered their sense of stability and well-being. Repeated exposure to threatening, traumatic events often increases the intensity of PTSD, Lydon says, lasting for years or even decades after the danger ends.

“I see a lot of people who have suffered childhood abuse, they’re victims of sexual or physical abuse from childhood,” Lydon offers. “Domestic violence [victims] suffer a great deal of PTSD too. So, you may think of the guy sitting in the foxhole, or think of somebody sitting in a car on the interstate and somebody comes crashing through the barricade at 70 miles an hour, but sometimes [PTSD can be caused by] repeated traumas over time, throughout their lifetime.”

Symptoms and At-Risk Populations
Symptoms of PTSD are varied, but usually are concentrated around the person’s desire to avoid anything or anyone associated with the traumatic event. Patients may be hypersensitive and easily startled, or conversely, they may become numb to violence or suffering. Nightmares, flashbacks, and suicidal thoughts may occur. Lydon says that his most severely impacted patients are referred to him after they have already stopped functioning in society and are overwhelmed with thoughts about the triggering event.

Lydon also points out that a person can suffer from PTSD simply by witnessing a violent, catastrophic event, even if they are not physically harmed. For example, he cites research into the long-term effects of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan in New York City on those who lived in the area and witnessed the carnage. Lydon also says that living in the midst of violence and deprivation, whether in an inner-city neighborhood or in a war-torn nation such as Syria, raises the incidence rate of PTSD.

Children and teenagers, along with senior citizens, are slightly more at risk for PTSD, Lydon says, and women are more susceptible than men. Overall, though, the psychiatric community has yet to isolate the definitive risk factors for the disorder. Persons can experience the same life-altering event and have far different outcomes, Lydon notes: one may experience normal sorrow or anxiety for a period of time but recover, while another may be haunted for years to come.

Depression, Anxiety, and other Related Disorders
The symptoms of PTSD can overlap with those of depression and anxiety, which are chronic manifestations of feelings humans might experience on occasion. Depression and anxiety are not as often associated with a particular traumatic event as PTSD but instead arise from more general feelings of inadequacy or unease.

Lydon says that often, people referred to him for depression state upfront that they feel normal. When asked about any recent changes in habits, though, they will admit to losing sleep and appetite and to withdrawing from social activity – which are all signs of depression. While Lydon says that depression is more often associated with low motivation, feelings of pervasive sadness, and a loss of self-worth, anxiety is associated with a desire to avoid uncomfortable places or situations, which leads to nervousness, sweating palms, rapid heartbeat, and the like.

Depression and anxiety may exist apart from substance abuse concerns, but for most patients, there is a strong correlation. “I have a lot of people who come in and say that the use of drugs and alcohol is what makes them feel better, and [so] they use them,” Lydon says. “But usually, those drugs and alcohol will compound the depression. At the moment when a person is using, they might feel okay, but then they immediately start to feel bad again, and there’s no long-term positive effect from it.”

Lydon has some experience treating post-partum depression, which affects mothers in the weeks or months following childbirth and is evidenced by a lack of emotional connection with their newborn. He views post-partum depression as a very serious condition that requires immediate treatment and follow-up. Lydon also briefly talks about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is often a recurring depressive condition for some people that strikes every winter.

Treatment: Medication, Therapy, or Both
Fortunately, treatment is available and usually quite effective for all of these mental disorders, Lydon says. After his first meeting with a patient, Lydon is often able to determine the type, and severity, of their disorder. He may hold off on prescribing medication if he finds out that a situational factor such as loss of a loved one or an abrupt change in lifestyle (such as losing a job) is causing their depression or anxiety. In those cases, he often allows the person to work through their condition, as most people tend to recover in a few weeks.

If the problem is more serious and long-term, though, as it usually is with PTSD, Lydon will devise a detailed treatment plan. “Medications are very effective, and that’s [usually] where I start,” he says. “Now, I [also] refer people to a therapist frequently, and I think a lot of times treatment needs to go hand in hand. Medicines can be very beneficial and help, but it’s also the therapy piece, or the traditional 50-minute hour sitting down on the couch, that can also be very beneficial, so I like people to really be in both.”

One particular type of therapy Lydon finds useful for both anxiety and PTSD is exposure therapy, which is also known as systematic desensitization. This therapy requires the patient to interact with or become exposed to the triggering factor for their disorder, but with supervision and emotional support. The exposure is limited at the outset, and then gradually increased – again, with continuous support. Eventually, the patient overcomes their fear or inhibition and achieves emotional stability.

An example of exposure therapy for PTSD would be a person returning several times to the scene of a horrible accident they experienced or witnessed as they learn to control their emotions. “It’s a cognitive behavioral therapy technique that can be done to get people to learn how to cope and deal with the anxiety,” Lydon says. “They still may have the anxiety, but it doesn’t keep them locked in their house to where they can’t get out and do what they need to do.”

Program Details

Kentucky Health

About Kentucky Health

Learn how to improve your health through education and increased awareness. Dr. Wayne Tuckson, a colorectal surgeon in Louisville, hosts.

TV Schedules

Jump to Recent Airdates

Upcoming

GERD: A Burning in the Chest and a Whole Lot More

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD, is a painful but common condition caused by irritation in the lining of the esophagus. Dr. Tuckson talks with Jeff Allen, M.D., director of laparoscopic surgery at Norton Surgical Specialists, about surgical options for GERD.

  • Friday October 22, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 22, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 22, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 22, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 22, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 22, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 23, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Lung Cancer: Improving Treatment and Decreasing the Mortality

Though lung cancer remains the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, there is cause for optimism. Dr. Tuckson talks to Jason Chesney, M.D., director of the UofL Health-Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, about new developments in the treatment of lung cancer.

  • Sunday October 24, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Carotid Artery Disease: A Precursor to a Stroke

Carotid artery disease can cut off the flow of blood to the brain, potentially causing a stroke. Dr. Tuckson discusses life-saving surgical solutions for carotid artery disease with Nick Abedi, M.D., a vascular surgeon with Fayette Surgical Associates.

  • Sunday October 24, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 24, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday October 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday October 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday October 29, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 29, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 29, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 29, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 30, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Environmental Pollution: Trees and Bushes as the Fix

Ted Smith, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil at the UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, talks about how planting trees can reduce air pollution, decrease certain health risks and encourage participation in outdoor activities.

  • Sunday October 31, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 1, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 5, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 5, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 5, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 5, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday November 5, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 5, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 6, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Glaucoma and Cataracts: What's Clear and Are They Inevitable?

Dr. Tuckson talks with ophthalmologist Frank Burns, MD, of Middletown Eye Care, about glaucoma and cataracts.

  • Sunday November 7, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 8, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 8, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 12, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 12, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 12, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 12, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday November 12, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 12, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 13, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Medical Information: Discerning the Wheat from the Chaff

  • Sunday November 14, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 15, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 19, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 19, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 19, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 19, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday November 19, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 19, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 20, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Oral Cancer and HPV: The Surprising Connection

  • Sunday November 21, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

GERD: A Burning in the Chest and a Whole Lot More

  • Monday October 18, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday October 18, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET

Lung Cancer: Improving Treatment and Decreasing the Mortality

  • Sunday October 17, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 16, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 15, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 15, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 15, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 15, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 15, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 15, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday October 11, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday October 11, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET

Nutrition and Weight Management

  • Sunday October 10, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2

Medications: A Modern Miracle, But Are They Safe and Available

  • Sunday October 17, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 9, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 8, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 8, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 8, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 8, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday October 4, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday October 4, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET

The Immune System: Not Just Fighting Infections

  • Sunday October 3, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 2, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday October 1, 2021 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET

New Approaches to Shoulder Replacement

  • Monday September 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday September 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 25, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday September 24, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Friday September 24, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday September 24, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 11:30 am CT on KET

Oral Healthcare: Our Teeth Should Last a Lifetime

  • Monday September 20, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday September 20, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 18, 2021 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
Top

Season 11 Episodes

Oral Health in Rural Kentucky

S11 E27 Length 27:35 Premiere Date 6.19.16

Addiction's Impact on the Family

S11 E26 Length 28:36 Premiere Date 6.5.16

Oral Health for Seniors

S11 E25 Length 27:14 Premiere Date 4.17.16

Complications of Pelvic Surgery

S11 E24 Length 27:45 Premiere Date 4.10.16

Common Eye Disorders

S11 E23 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 4.2.16

Hospice Care

S11 E22 Length 27:53 Premiere Date 3.27.16

Cervical Cancer: A Global Epidemic

S11 E21 Length 27:29 Premiere Date 2.28.16

PTSD: Not Limited to the Military

S11 E20 Length 27:09 Premiere Date 2.21.16

African American Health Care in Louisville

S11 E19 Length 27:26 Premiere Date 2.14.16

Human Trafficking

S11 E18 Length 28:20 Premiere Date 2.7.16

Preterm Infants and Their Care

S11 E17 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 1.31.16

Help for Teenage Parents

S11 E16 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 1.24.16

Health News We Need to Know

S11 E15 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 1.17.16

Diagnosing and Treating Dyslexia

S11 E14 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 1.10.16

The Diabetes Epidemic

S11 E13 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 1.3.16

Cancer in Kentucky: Are We Winning the War?

S11 E12 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 12.27.15

Adult Orthodonture

S11 E11 Length 27:24 Premiere Date 12.20.15

Stress and Adolescence

S11 E10 Length 27:11 Premiere Date 12.13.15

Crohn's Disease and Colitis

S11 E9 Length 27:04 Premiere Date 11.22.15

Advances in Telemedicine

S11 E8 Length 26:14 Premiere Date 11.15.15

Lung Cancer in Kentucky

S11 E7 Length 26:44 Premiere Date 11.8.15

Greater Louisville Medical Society

S11 E6 Length 26:49 Premiere Date 11.1.15

Cervical Disc Surgery

S11 E5 Length 27:03 Premiere Date 10.25.15

Training New Doctors

S11 E4 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 10.18.15

Best Practices for Prenatal Care

S11 E3 Length 27:19 Premiere Date 10.11.15

Knee Replacement

S11 E2 Length 26:28 Premiere Date 10.3.15

Chemotherapy: New Advances, a New Age

S11 E1 Length 26:22 Premiere Date 9.26.15

Explore KET