Sinead O’Connor is missing and the authorities have reportedly classified her as ‘suicidal.’ Sinead’s mental issues stem from PTSD, and while her family continues to hope for the best, learn more about posttraumatic stress disorder.
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is often associated with soldiers returning from combat, but as Sinead O’Connor, 49, demonstrates, this devastating disorder can affect anyone. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer was diagnosed with PTSD, so here are 5 things about the mental illness that may be behind her disappearance.
1. Many things can cause PTSD.
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event, according to The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These events include military combat, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, serious accidents and physical or sexual abuse.
Sinead claims she was abused by her mother. “It was physical violence, perpetrated particularly in a sexual manner,” she told PEOPLE magazine in 2012. “She wasn’t trying to have sex with me, but she spent a good time trying to destroy my reproductive system. It was psychological, too. It was a torture chamber, really.”
2. The symptoms can appear anytime.
PTSD symptoms usually start right after the traumatic event but they could be hidden for months before appearing. The symptoms are: reliving the event; avoiding systems that trigger memories of the event; negative changes in beliefs and feelings; and a sense of hyper-arousal, or being jittery, on edge or alert for danger. “You’re vulnerable, self-esteem-wise,” Sinead said, adding that just hearing something negative about her husband “pushed some dangerous buttons.”
3. PTSD can cause other mental and physical problems.
PTSD can cause some other serious health issues. Someone could feel hopeless, shameful or depressed. They could develop drinking or drug problems. They could also suffer physical symptoms and chronic pain. Most common, PTSD leads to employment and relationship problems, including divorce. Sinead has dealt with her own relationship problems, publicly feuding with her family.
4. There’s no one easy fix for PTSD.
“Recovery from child abuse is a life’s work,” Sinead said. “It was quite the trauma, to be honest.” The treatment for PTSD varies from person to person, according to the National Institute for Mental Health, and those suffering need to work with their doctors to find the correct treatment. This usually involves psychotherapy and possibly mediations.
5. Women are more prone to PTSD then men.
Sinead was originally diagnosed as bipolar in 2011, but was reclassified as suffering PTSD. 7.8% of American will experience the disorder at some point in their lives, with women twice as likely as men. The most traumatic events for women are rape, sexual molestation, physical attack and childhood physical abuse. Here’s hoping Sinead is found safe and she continues to get the help she needs to overcome her PTSD.
Our thoughts continue to go out to Sinead’s family as they continue to search for her.