Things you need to know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental health condition triggered by a unpleasant event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms include getting flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
People experiencing a traumatic turn of events may have difficulty adjusting and coping. With good self-care, their condition may improve. But if the symptoms persist for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.
Effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop is instrumental to reduce symptoms and improve function.
The common events leading to the development of PTSD are :
- Combat exposure
- Childhood physical abuse
- Sexual violence
- Physical assault
- Being threatened with a weapon
- An accident
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms usually surface in a month of a traumatic event. However symptoms may not be seen until years after the traumatic event. These symptoms cause stress in social or work situations . They also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
PTSD symptoms are of four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.
Symptoms change over a period of time and vary from person to person.
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
- Recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event
- Getting flashbacks from the traumatic event
- Nightmares about the past traumatic event
- Severe psychological distress
Symptoms of avoidance may include:
- Trying conversations about the traumatic event
- Avoiding social interactions, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event
Symptoms of negative changes in thought process are :
- Not having good thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
- Feeling uncertainty regarding the future
- Memory problems like not remembering key details of the traumatic event
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from family and friends
- Disinterested in pursuing your hobbies
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Feeling emotionally numb
Symptoms of changes taking place in physical and emotional reactions are :
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Always being on guard for danger
- Exceeding consumption of alcohol
- driving recklessly
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
One can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when going through, seeing or learning about an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or tragedy.
PTSD is probably caused due to:
- Stressful experiences from the past
- Family history of anxiety and depression
- Short temperamental levels
- The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in reaction to stress
People of all ages are at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some factors responsible for PTSD are:
- Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
- Early childhood abuse
- Being exposed to traumatic events in work environment, such as military personnel and first responders
- Having anxiety or depression
- Having drinking problems
- Not having a good social circle
- Having blood relatives with anxiety or depression
Post-traumatic stress disorder starts affecting ― your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.
PTSD may put you at risk of other mental health problems, such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Issues with drugs or alcohol use
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
Post surviving a traumatic event, people experience PTSD-like symptoms like finding it difficult to stop thinking about what's happened. Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt are the reactions to trauma.
Getting timely help and support prevents normal stress reactions from getting worsening. The most effective way is seeking out a mental health professional for a brief course of therapy.
If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event from the past for some time and if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life on track talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Start therapy as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.