Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that develops after experiencing a horrific event. Those suffering from this condition find it difficult to adjust to everyday life, which generally leads to months or years of suffering. This disorder interferes with a person’s day-to-day activities, causing uncontrollable thoughts and anxiety.
Fear is a normal response that people have while encountering a dangerous situation. It helps trigger fast changes in the body that allows it to cope with the situation. These changes can also give a person a boost to help avoid the encounter altogether. This fight-or-flight response is a normal reaction, but not everyone recovers unscarred after a traumatic encounter.
A person who has PTSD will feel stressed or frightened even when they’re not in danger. Anyone is susceptible to PTSD, and it’s commonly seen in war veterans, assault/abuse victims, and disaster survivors. Around seven to eight out of a hundred people will experience PTSD during their lives. Studies have also shown that women are more susceptible than men.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
If a person experiences the aftereffects of a traumatic event for more than a month, they may have PTSD. There are also occasions when people experience symptoms much later — even months or years after the traumatic event they experienced.
People with PTSD experience triggers that force them to relive memories of a traumatic event. They can experience it through recurring nightmares or seeing objects that remind them of the trauma.
These are some of the common symptoms of PTSD:
- Estrangement or detachment from others
- Persistent guilt, anger, and fear
- Exaggerated negative beliefs
- Self-destructive actions
- Irritable and aggressive behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The truth is that not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic event. There are a lot of factors that can trigger the condition, and some of them increase a person’s susceptibility. These are:
- Having a history of mental illness
- Experiencing stressful events after a significant loss
- Getting hurt
- Surviving a dangerous event
- Having a childhood trauma
- Feeling extreme fear or helplessness
- Lacking of support after a traumatic event
Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Treating PTSD will help improve self-esteem, lessen the severity of the symptoms, and teach a person how to cope. The goal of most treatments is to help a person change their thought patterns. Individual and group treatment are possible options.
Treating PTSD requires a combination of psychotherapy and medication. These can be either short or long-term, and the duration depends on the condition’s severity. There are several treatment options that may suit an individual’s case.
A person will undergo treatment for about 12 weeks and have 60–90 minute sessions with a therapist to discuss the traumatic event. The session involves the therapist leading the patient through the trauma and discussing how the event has affected their life. The effectiveness of this treatment hinges on the belief that learning through another perspective helps one learn to live with it.
The focus of stress inoculation is more on how to deal with stress after the traumatic event. This is usually done with a group, although individual treatment is possible. A patient learns techniques that will help dissipate negative thoughts during this time so the patient learns how to release stress.
This therapy is often recommended to people avoiding the traumatic event. A patient will learn to ease anxiety and become comfortable with talking about the trauma. Steps are then created to help the patient learn how to face the experience.
Research has shown that those who have PTSD process threats differently. There is an imbalance of chemicals that cause the jumpy and aggressive reactions. Medicine is used to help prevent flashbacks and nightmares.