Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental illness that develops in some people who have experienced a traumatic or dangerous event. Many around the world are traumatized by PTSD. Studies have found that in the past year, PTSD affected an estimated 3.6 percent of American adults over the age

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental illness that develops in some people who have experienced a traumatic or dangerous event. Many around the world are traumatized by PTSD. Studies have found that in the past year, PTSD affected an estimated 3.6 percent of American adults over the age of 18. But what exactly is PTSD? Let's find out more.

Introduction on PTSD

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was most commonly seen in veterans returning from war. Due to the shocks and trauma they faced during wartime, and the prevalence of this disorder among war survivors often characterized it as 'Shell disorder.'


As it affected war veterans, it can also affect people who have suffered from some other type of childhood trauma or life-changing tragic experience. PTSD can also have a genetic component and has been seen to from generation to generation through DNA.

PTSD is also an emotional disorder. Since it is related to tragic incidents and history of the individual, it is incredibly personal. Due to the intimate nature of this disorder, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy to PTSD. However, due to shared characteristics and symptoms between PTSD and other anxiety disorders and depression, there are several ways patients can find relief.

Causes of PTSD

Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can include:

  • A natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado
  • Military combat
  • Physical or sexual assault or abuse
  • An accident

People with PTSD also feel a heightened sense of danger. Their natural fight-or-flight response causes them to feel stressed or fearful, even when they're perfectly safe.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

PTSD symptoms in women

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), women are twice as likely as men to get PTSD, and the symptoms manifest slightly differently.

Women with PTSD may feel more:

  • Anxious and depressed
  • Numb, with no emotions
  • Easily startled
  • Sensitive to reminders of the trauma

 

PTSD symptoms in women last longer than those of men.

PTSD symptoms in men

Men usually have the typical PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance, cognitive and mood issues, and arousal concerns. These symptoms often start within the first month after the traumatic event, but it can take months or years for signs to appear.

Some common symptoms of PTSD

Intrusion

  • Flashbacks where you feel like you relive the event over-and-over
  • Vivid, unpleasant memories of the event

Avoidance

  • Arousal and reactivity
  • Trouble concentrating

Irritability

  • Trouble remembering important parts of the event
  • Reduced interest in activities you once loved

Also, people with PTSD may experience depression and panic attacks.

However, everyone with PTSD is different. The specific symptoms are unique to each person based on their biology and the trauma they have experienced.

Types of PTSD

  • Acute stress disorder is a cluster of symptoms like anxiety and avoidance that develop within a month after a traumatic event. Many people with ASD later ends up developing PTSD.
  • Dissociative PTSD is when you detach yourself from the trauma. You feel separated from the event, or like you're outside of your own body.
  • Uncomplicated PTSD is when you have PTSD symptoms like re-experiencing the traumatic event and avoiding people and places related to the trauma. Still, you don't have any other mental health issues such as depression. People with the uncomplicated subtype often respond well to treatment.
  • Comorbid PTSD involves symptoms of PTSD, along with another mental health disorder like depression, panic disorder, or a substance abuse problem. People with this type get the best results from treating both PTSD and other mental health issues.

 

Can PTSD be treated?

There's no specific test to diagnose PTSD because people with this disorder may be hesitant to recall or discuss the trauma or their symptoms. If diagnosed with PTSD, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe therapy, medication, or a combination of the two treatments.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or 'talk therapy,' encourages you to process the traumatic event and change the negative thinking patterns linked to it.
  • In exposure therapy, you re-experience elements of the trauma in a safe environment. You are helping to desensitize you to the event and reduce your symptoms.

Conclusion

If you're experiencing symptoms of PTSD, understand that you're not alone. According to the National Center for PTSD, 8 million adults have PTSD in any given year. If you have frequent upsetting thoughts, are unable to control your actions, or fear that you might hurt yourself or others, seek help right away.

If you have PTSD, early treatment can help relieve your symptoms. It can also give you practical strategies for coping with intrusive thoughts, memories, and flashbacks. Through therapy, support groups, and medication, you can get on the road to recovery. Always keep in mind that you're not alone. Support is available if and when you need it.

 

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