Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is most often associated with war veterans. However, PTSD is a condition that can appear in any individuals who have lived through a traumatic experience.
PTSD is a condition that individuals often cannot overcome on their own. Understanding this complex mental health condition will help you or someone you love conquer it.
What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
There is no finite known cause of post-traumatic stress disorder, and contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t only occur in individuals who have experienced something traumatic themselves. Individuals can witness a traumatic event taking place or lose a loved one, and experience PTSD.
What is known about PTSD is that it is a psychological addiction. It can begin occurring up to six months after a traumatic experience. In some individuals, it reaches its peak for a three-month period. In others, it lasts long term.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
There are three types of symptoms that individuals suffering from PTSD experience. They may relive events, avoid addressing their emotions and have a sense of heightened energy.
Specific symptoms that fall under the “reliving events” umbrella include:
- Memories and dreams where the traumatic event occurs over and over again.
- Reactions to environmental experiences that are somehow a reminder of the traumatic experience. For example, an individual with memories of gunfire in a war may have an adverse reaction to a car backfiring.
Symptoms of avoidance with PTSD include:
- Acting emotionally numb to anything that occurs
- Feeling detached even when specific emotion should be surfacing appropriate to a situation
- Disinterest in things that were previously important
- Memory issues with regards to the trauma experienced
- Avoiding circumstances that may act as reminders
Symptoms of heightened energy/arousal with PTSD can include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Heightened awareness of surroundings
- Problems sleeping
- Angry outbursts or extreme reactions to startling circumstances
In addition to all of the above, it’s normal for individuals to experience a number of symptoms that relate to stress and anxiety.
How Is PTSD Treated?
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated with a combination of medication, counseling and occasionally exposure therapy. Depending upon the severity of the condition, either inpatient or outpatient treatment is appropriate.