PTSD has compounding effect, speed of treatment could help: expert

A therapist that has personally suffered from PTSD recognizes the benefits of earlier treatment for the disorder, as promised through new legislation introduced in Manitoba.

'I enjoy telling my story because what I've seen is that people who really connect to it, feel hope.'

Manitoba's new PTSD legislation has been flagged as a huge advance for first responders battling with the disorder. (CBC)

The longer a person lives with post traumatic stress disorder, the harder it is to escape it, over time a person will completely isolate themselves by alienating those around them. 

Faster treatment could help people before they're in too deep, Kevin Richardson told CBC's Information Radio Tuesday.

Richardson is a therapist in Winnipeg but has also suffered from PTSD himself.

At age 14, Richardson was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and he'd gone into a coma for a period of time. Understandably, his health put him behind in school and so he was sent to a guidance counsellor for help. Instead, he was sexually abused for years, he told Information Radio host Marcy Markusa. 

The effects were devastating. He experienced difficulty building personal relationships, and as is common in cases of PTSD, he also became depressed. 

Richardson remembers feeling chronically anxious and having obsessive thoughts. 

"The biggest problem with the longer you're living with PTSD is the compounding effect," Richardson said.

Earlier treatment benefits those that suffer from the disorder and earlier treatment is what new Manitoba legislation hopes to bring to the province's workers. ​ 

"I certainly – and this might sound funny – but I enjoy telling my story because what I've seen is that people who really connect to it, feel hope. They feel the sense of 'I thought I would never get better but now I believe I can.' Things like that are really helpful, especially where people are more at the acute phase where they're feeling suicidal," Richardson said. 

Richardson said the ability to help people move on, is something that means a lot to him personally. 

Kevin Richardson encourages anyone with questions or concerns about PTSD or services offered to contact him at his office at 204-505-0325, ext. 102.


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