Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Basics
Anyone who has been through a stressful or traumatic event knows how serious the aftermath can be.
The psychological shock alone makes returning to normal life difficult and sometimes unbearable.
Yet it is completely normal and understandable and slowly, but surely, things start calming down in a matter of weeks.
Yet those whose symptoms persist for longer than a month – even years – are diagnosed as suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a condition that affects one’s mental health after experiencing one or more painful and highly traumatic events.
These events can range from physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, loss of loved ones, serious accidents, combat, or any number of events that cause psychological and emotional shock.
While at first PTSD was mostly attributed to soldiers coming out of combat, today experts know it can affect people who face all types of trauma.
Certainly, the current global pandemic we are facing can result in cases of PTSD increasing, for first responders, health care workers, survivors of the dead and all the people who are at home unsure of when it will be under control
PTSD can also arise from indirect exposure, as with caregivers and first responders.
Close family members of those suffering from PTSD have been shown to display PTSD symptoms. This is called secondary PTSD and its warning signs are just as intense and acute as those who were present during the actual event.
The symptoms for PTSD can range from the mild to the severe, but they can be easily recognized. Some of these include:
- Reliving the event in your mind through flashback or nightmares which can cause physical reactions, such as heart palpitations, sweating, nausea and insomnia.
- Sometimes people suffering from PTSD falsely believe things will get better if they avoid talking about what happened or acknowledging the fact that it actually did take place.
- Increased irritability
- Anger outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased anxiety and fear
- Nagging feelings of humiliation or guilt
- An increased sense of detachment, numbness and avoidance
Moreover, everyday occurrences may start to become mundane, and you start feeling resentment and anger towards them.
It could be something as simple as parking your car or waiting in line at the supermarket – things you didn’t even pay attention to before have suddenly turned into difficult feats that cause you mental and emotional strain.
Luckily, there are several treatments which have proven to yield great results. They help provide an outlet for suppressed negative thoughts and emotions.
They also help those suffering from PTSD regain control of their lives through the various mechanisms which allow them to cope successfully with their memories and the emotions they have attached to them.
Treatment methods can be one type of therapy or a combination of them. Here are a few examples:
- Medications to alleviate the symptoms (anti-anxiety, antidepressants, sleep enhancers, etc.)
- Psychotherapy helps provide a safe channel for PTSD sufferers to let go of their emotions and negative recollections which they had learned to repress and keep under wraps.
- Exposure therapy (including virtual reality exposure therapy) helps people come face-to-face with their trauma in a controlled, safe environment.
PTSD is a very real and can be quite a debilitating condition affecting your life quality, mental and emotional state and your relationships.
You do not have to live with the traumatic effects of PTSD. There are so many modern methods to deal with this issue, that you can get help and feel better and back in control.
Talk with your therapist and discuss the right treatment method for you.
It is crucial that you feel secure and at ease with your therapist.
Trust in your therapist is very important because without it, treatment won’t be successful.