Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition wherein the patient faces extreme mental distress because of any traumatic event faced in the past. PTSD is a serious mental health issue after an individual has experienced a traumatic event such as physical or sexual abuse, natural disaster, threat in life etc. The symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts, flashbacks, and severe anxiety about the event.
Triggers of PTSD- Traumatic Events
Any traumatic event that impacts the physical and emotional well-being can have long term psychological impact.
An individual going through PTSD, may feel anxious, threatened, scared in retaliation to the traumatic event. The incident keeps flashing as bad memory, further impacting the quality of life. The person finds it difficult to process the triggering events They might also need care, time, and support to improve their mental and emotional strength.
The Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may appear right after the traumatic event or even later in life. The severity of PTSD symptoms can differ from one person to another. The symptoms of PTSD are classed into four different types:
- Intrusive memories
- Negative impact on an individual’s mood and thinking
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
- Intrusive memories
Intrusive memories can be flashbacks of a serious accident, nightmares of the traumatic event, fearful thoughts, and unwanted distressing memories. The memories are so cogent that the individual experiences severe emotional distress, re-lives the event once again, and can also have physical reactions.
The symptoms of avoidance include avoiding talking or even thinking about the traumatic event, avoiding places of the event, avoiding people or activities that remind them about the event.
- Negative changes in thinking and mood
People with post-traumatic stress disorder may tend to forget the important elements of the event. They might develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, drugs, or drinking to overcome the anger, fear, guilt, frustration attached to the event. The other symptoms of negative mood changes are memory problems, getting emotionally numb, feeling detached emotionally, and other mental health problems such as phobia, anxiety, and depression.
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
PTSD arousal symptoms are related to emotional and physical reactions and include the below:
- Trouble concentrating
- Gets easily scared or startled
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking, drug addiction
- Anger outbursts about the traumatic event or irritability
- Immense shame or guilt
The Severity of PTSD Symptoms
PTSD symptoms vary from person to person and the severity of the symptoms can increase/decrease over time. When the person is stressed or comes across similar events, the PTSD symptoms can become more horrified. For instance, if someone has been sexually abused and that person comes across news about a sexual assault they might remember combat experiences.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can slowly and gradually develop when you see, go through or know about an event that involves sexual violation, actual death, or any other serious incident. Health practitioners to date are unaware of the actual cause of PTSD.
As PTSD causes mental health problems but also causes many other problems like:
- Family history of mental health issues like depression and anxiety;
- Inherited features of personality;
- Stressful situations that include the trauma the person has gone through in their life;
long-lasting trauma, mental health problems, good support system
Anyone irrespective of age can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many severe factors can make the PTSD more severe after a traumatic event like:
Facing mental health problems such as depression or anxiety;
- Experiencing long-lasting trauma that can be quite intensified;
- Trauma due to childhood abuse
- Limited support system of friends and family after the traumatic event;
- Substance Abuse
The different types of traumatic events are:
- Sexual Abuse
- A severe accident;
- Physical assault;
Other traumatic events leading to this disorder are natural disasters, robbery, torture, fire, plane hijacking, terrorist attack, wars, inhabitants of conflict ridden places and other life-threatening events.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can create some serious complications. These complications are:
- Severe mental health problems like anxiety and depression;
- Difficulty to build a strong relationship or face issues with work;
- Increase the risk of heart diseases like heart stroke, heart problems;
- Increase the risk of chronic disease;
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Eating disorders;
- Personality disorders;
- Increase consumption of drugs or alcohol;
- Affect the brain like a higher level of stress, memory loss;
PTSD patients require support that can help them to control further developing and worsening normal stress reactions related to PTSD. Try to talk to your close family members and friends who can give you comfort and listen to you. One should seek support of mental health practitioner and opt to go for different psychological therapies. Some people may also opt to join support groups which can be helpful.
- Does PTSD affect children?
Yes, PTSD can impact irrespective of age. Play therapy might help children cope with the symptoms of PTSD.
- When should you see a doctor?
If a person is continuously experiencing disturbing thoughts about the traumatic event for a longer period, it is advisable to take the help of mental health professional and get medical treatment at the earliest. The PTSD symptoms should not be avoided, else it may harm the professional and personal environment of the individual.
- How long does PTSD last?
If PTSD is not treated at the right time, it can be too harmful in the long run and can last for a longer time. With a proper consultation, the signs and symptoms can be manageable with time and right support.
- What are the treatment approaches?
There are many treatment techniques to help control the PTSD symptoms such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, anti-anxiety medications, and more. The practitioner can use one or more treatments as per the severity of the disorder.
PTSD is a serious mental health disorder that can drastically affect your relations and also your work. If an individual faces symptoms for a prolonged time relating to PTSD, contact Truhap, the best psychologist in Hyderabad. If you want the best treatment or medication, visit www.truhap.com and book an appointment as soon as possible. First therapy session is on us, free of cost. Gift yourself or a loved one a free therapy session.