The human mind and psyche are often as strong and resilient as the human body. They can withstand and develop coping mechanisms for devastating events. Nevertheless, every person has a different reaction to traumatic events. While some individuals thrive in the face of difficulty, others develop a condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that people who have experienced unpleasant and terrifying events may develop following the experience.
PTSD-triggering events happen to just about everyone over the course of his or her life. Usually in situations like these, the innate human fight-or-flight response is triggered in order to defend from external harm. Most people recover from the initial fear with time and proper support.
However, people diagnosed with PTSD continue to experience terror after going through these traumatic events. They may feel anxious, terrified, confused or worse despite being in a safe environment away from the stressful situation.
The effects of PTSD can get worse without treatment over time. PTSD can interfere with a person’s day to day life which is why it is important to get properly diagnosed and treated.
What are the causes of PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with soldiers coming back home from their gruelling service. While it is true that a significant number of military men suffer from PTSD, people who have not served may develop the condition as well.
A person can develop PTSD following a traumatic event. This can involve:
- Natural disasters
Some people go through traumatic events without developing PTSD. Specialists believe that this complex condition is a product of several factors, which include:
- Severity and amount of trauma
- The regulation of chemicals and hormones in the brain
What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD usually begin around three months following the stressful and difficult experience. Nevertheless, some people develop PTSD years after. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person should be experiencing the following symptoms for more than one month:
- One avoidance symptom
- Two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. These symptoms can be bad enough that it makes day to day task difficult for the person suffering from PTSD.
Avoidance symptoms, on the other hand, may include keeping away from places and objects that service as reminders of the traumatic event, feeling numb or guilty, losing the desire to participate in hobbies and interests, and sometimes having difficulties remembering the traumatic event.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms are characterized by being tense and easily startled, developing insomnia and having anger episodes. Lastly, cognition and mood symptoms might manifest itself through distorted and amplified feelings of guilt, negative thoughts about the world, and difficulty remembering the event as a whole.
What are the available treatments for PTSD?
PTSD is one of the most complex mental health conditions people suffer from today. Fortunately, there are available treatments individuals can participate in order to quash the symptoms of PTSD. These treatments include:
- Medication: Pharmaceutical drugs like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed to be people with PTSD. Treatments vary from case to case, however often these drugs are taken in partnership with going to therapy.