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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Understanding and Overcoming PTSD.

PTSD

CONTENTS

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an individual mental health disorder that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include

1. Intrusive and distressing memories or flashbacks of the event.
2. Avoidance of trauma reminders.
3. Adverse changes in mood and cognition.
4. Increased arousal or reactivity.

These symptoms may persist for months or years and interfere with the person’s daily life and functioning. PTSD can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination.

What are the leading causes of PTSD?

There are a variety of causes of PTSD, and it can develop in anyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Some of the common causes of PTSD, along with references to support the information:

Combat and Military Service: Military service members exposed to war or other traumatic events during their service are at a higher risk of developing PTSD.

Physical or Sexual Assault: Survivors of physical or sexual assault, including domestic violence and childhood abuse, may develop PTSD due to the trauma.

Natural Disasters: People who experience natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires may develop PTSD due to the extreme stress and fear they experience during the event.

Accidents and Medical Trauma: Individuals who experience a severe accident or medical trauma, such as a car accident or major surgery, may develop PTSD due to the trauma.

Witnessing Violence: Witnessing violence, such as a mass shooting or a violent crime, can also lead to developing PTSD.

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Status: People who have fled their home country due to war, persecution, or other traumatic events may develop PTSD due to their experiences.

What are the signs & symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD can cause various symptoms divided into four main categories: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in mood and cognition, and hyperarousal.

Here are the significant signs and symptoms of PTSD:

Re-experiencing: People with PTSD often experience intrusive and distressing memories of the traumatic event. This can be flashbacks, nightmares, or even physical sensations related to the trauma.

Avoidance: To avoid triggers related to the trauma, people with PTSD may go to great lengths to avoid all those things that remind them of the event. This can include avoiding certain places, people, or activities, making it challenging to participate in daily life.

Negative Changes in Mood: PTSD can cause several changes in mood and cognition, including negative thoughts and feelings, detachment or estrangement from others, and a persistent inability to experience positive emotions.

Hyperarousal: People with PTSD may experience a persistent state of heightened arousal or a “fight or flight” response. This can cause irritability, difficulty sleeping, and an exaggerated startle response.

It is essential to understand that not everyone with PTSD will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity level of symptoms can vary from person to person.

Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder a common problem in today’s world?

PTSD is a relatively common condition, particularly among individuals who have experienced trauma.

According to the National Center for PTSD, 7-8% of the population experiences PTSD at some point in life.

Women in this population are more likely than men to develop PTSD, and certain groups, such as military veterans and survivors of sexual assault, are also at higher risk.

What are the complications of PTSD if left untreated?

One suffering from PTSD must understand and recognize this problem and seek medical attention or help from family and friends, as it is a serious societal issue.

It can lead to various difficulties & complications in life if left untreated. It can have significant and long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental and physical health.

Here are some complications that can arise:

Depression: PTSD can increase the risk of depression, which can further worsen symptoms of PTSD.
Depressive symptoms can include sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in daily activities.

Anxiety: Anxiety is a common complication of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and can cause a person to feel on edge, irritable, and have difficulty concentrating.

Substance abuse: PTSD can lead to an increased risk of developing substance abuse problems as a way of coping with the symptoms.

Physical health problems: PTSD has been linked to various physical health problems, including chronic pain, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues.

Relationship problems: PTSD can affect an individual’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, leading to isolation and loneliness.

What are the main treatments & therapies for PTSD?

Some various treatments and therapies effectively treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some of the most commonly used treatments and therapies:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a talking therapy that helps individuals by identifying and changing these negative patterns that contribute to PTSD condition. Individuals with PTSD can effectively reduce their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

CBT can include exposure therapy, which involves gradually confronting and desensitizing individuals to their traumatic memories or triggers.

EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing:

It’s a form of therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that uses bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, to help the individual access and process the traumatic memory in a less distressing way.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE):

PE is a form of exposure therapy that involves repeated and prolonged exposure to a traumatic memory or situation in a safe and controlled environment.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR):

MBSR is a type of therapy that involves mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, to help individuals reduce stress and improve their coping skills.

Group therapy:

Group therapy can provide a supportive and understanding environment for individuals with PTSD.

This can be especially helpful for veterans or first responders who may benefit from connecting with others who have had similar experiences.

Family therapy:

Family therapy can help individuals with PTSD and their families communicate more effectively and better support each other.

Medication:

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, can help manage symptoms of PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Different treatments may be more effective for other individuals, and treatment often involves a combination of therapies. Seeking professional help is recommended for individuals with PTSD.

Talking Therapy for PTSD:

Talking therapy, also known as psychotherapy or counseling, is a standard and effective treatment for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Talking therapy typically involves working with a mental health professional to explore and process traumatic experiences, manage symptoms of PTSD, and develop coping strategies.

Talking therapy for PTSD is typically conducted in a safe and supportive environment with a qualified mental health professional. The type of therapy recommended may depend on the individual’s preferences and specific needs.

It’s important to work with a mental health professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for you.

Overall, talking therapy is an effective treatment for PTSD, either as a standalone treatment or in combination with medication or other therapies.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that usually develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It can have significant and long-lasting effects on an individual’s psychological and physical health.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments for PTSD, including medications and talking therapies. It’s vital for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. With proper treatment and support, individuals with PTSD can improve their quality of life and manage their symptoms.

Note: We do not provide any medical advice.

REFERENCES

1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 [2-25-2023].

2. National Institute of Mental Health. (2021, February). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml [2-25-2023].

3. National Center for PTSD. (2021, February). Understanding PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/index.asp [2-23-2023].

4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). How to Help a Loved One with PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/family/how_help_loved_one.asp [2-23-2023].

5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021, February). Social Effects of PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_social_effects.asp [2-23-2023].

6. National Center for PTSD. (2021). How Common is PTSD? https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_veterans.asp [2-22-2023].

7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021, January). PTSD and Relationships. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/related/ptsd-relationships.asp [2-22-2023].

8. Schrader C, Ross A. A Review of PTSD and Current Treatment Strategies. Mo Med. 2021 Nov-Dec;118(6):546-551. PMID: 34924624; PMCID: PMC8672952. [2-23-2023].

9. Thakur, A., Choudhary, D., Kumar, B., & Chaudhary, A. (2022). A Review on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms, Therapies and Recent Case Studies. Current molecular pharmacology15(3), 502–516. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874467214666210525160944 [2-22-2023].

10. Merians, A. N., Spiller, T., Harpaz-Rotem, I., Krystal, J. H., & Pietrzak, R. H. (2023). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The Medical clinics of North America107(1), 85–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2022.04.003 [2-26-2023].

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