Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms or PTSD usually develop after a traumatic event.
High levels of stress caused by certain events can lead to the development of PTSD. This may involve experiencing events involving serious injuries or close to death experiences. It may also occur even through witnessing stressful events such as a violent death or learning about a death of a close friend or family member.
Other traumatic events include: military combat, terrorist attacks, personal abuse and assaults, car accidents, and natural disasters such as fires and earthquakes. Not all people with PTSD have experienced these events first hand. Others may have been just witnesses of these disasters or have been threatened violently.
Normally, people under stress experience trouble concentrating, eating, and sleeping. They may also feel easily irritated, strong emotions, and jitters. These are temporary reactions to such events. Furthermore, flashbacks and nightmares of the event may also occur.
Having a support system and stress management usually is enough to manage stress, which may go away or disappear after a few days or weeks. However, PTSD patients have high levels of stress, which may last for months. Patients with PTSD may exhibit symptoms soon after the event, but in some cases, symptoms may appear later in life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms
It is normal for people to feel helpless, fear, anxious, and distressed after witnessing stressful events. Individuals tend to become numb and avoid thinking about the event as well as avoiding the trauma site and feelings associated with the event. This is known as acute stress disorder and last for only a few days to weeks.
However, individuals with PTSD don’t get over the traumatic event quickly. It may take them a couple of months or more. PTSD has three main symptoms, which include: reliving the traumatic event, avoiding things that remind them of the trauma, and hyperarousal. Reliving the traumatic event involves intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, and many more.
People with PTSD also tend to avoid talking about the event. They avoid activities, places, and people that remind them of what had happened. On the other hand, hyperarousal involves exaggerated responses such as startle, difficulty focusing or concentrating on task, irritability, sleeping troubles, and being alert always.
Other symptoms associated with the disorder includes: suicidal thoughts, depression, problems with relationships, substance abuse, feelings of mistrust, panic attacks, and physical symptoms such as muscle pain and cramps and diarrhea.
Who are at Risk for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post traumatic stress disorder can affect individuals of any age. They can happen to children, teens, and adults. However, PTSD doesn’t develop in all individuals who experience severe trauma. In most cases, many people recover from stress without developing the disorder. An individual’s ability to bounce back or cope with is known as resilience.
Certain factor can aid a person to recover faster from a traumatic event. This involves the person’s confidence in his or her abilities with regards to coping up or solving problems. Body hormones also play an important role in helping a person to cope with stress.
An individual’s support system is also a factor with regards to developing PTSD. People who have a family, friend, or a counselor to talk to, wherein they can freely express their feelings are less likely to develop the disorder. These people can provide ways to vent about feelings and thoughts.
In some cases, the intensity of the traumatic event is also a factor of developing PTSD.
Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Successful treatment of PTSD can help individuals feel better and gain control over their lives. It can also aid them in coping with recurring symptoms. Treatment may involve both psychotherapy and the use of medications. The goal is to teach and help the patient in coping up with stress and symptoms of PTSD.
Medications for PTSD include: anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics. The patient may first have to talk to a physician before using any these medications. Short course therapy with antipsychotics is used to solve problems with anxiety, emotional outburst, and sleeping problems. Antidepressants are for symptoms such as anxiety and depression. It can also help with concentration and sleep problems. On the other hand, Przosin is used for problems with recurrent nightmares and insomnia.
Another mode of treatment for post traumatic stress disorder involves psychotherapy. There are different types of therapy under psychotherapy, which can be utilized in treating both adults and children. The individual may undergo one or more therapy depending on the patient’s discretion. Some patients are comfortable with individual therapy while others prefer group.
Examples of psychotherapy for post traumatic stress disorder include cognitive therapy and exposure therapy. Cognitive involves talking and helping the patient recognize patterns of thinking. On the other hand, exposure therapy is a behavioral therapy wherein the patient is being exposed to the things that frightened them as well as teaching them to cope with their fear.