- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition that starts after a traumatic event. That event may involve a perceived or real threat of injury or death.
- People who have PTSD often feel extreme danger. Their natural fight-or-flight response is altered, making them feel fearful even in a safe situation.
- PTSD used to be known as "shell shock" or "battle fatigue" because it often affects war veterans.
- PTSD can happen to anyone regardless of age and gender. It occurs as a response to neuronal and chemical changes in the brain after experiencing frightening events.
- Many people who experience traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and self-care, they get better.
PTSD has also been known as “shell shock” during the year of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II. But it doesn’t just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, of any culture and nationality, at any age. PTSD affects nearly 3.5 percent of U.S adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD disease.
Types of PTSDDifferent types of PTSD include:
- Complex PTSD: Described by a series of traumatic events happening over time and typically earlier in life.
- Delayed expression: This type of PTSD was "delayed onset." It happens when someone is diagnosed six months after the traumatic event.
- Dissociative: To meet the PTSD diagnosis criteria, this subtype requires symptoms of depersonalization or derealization.
PTSD Signs and Symptoms
PTSD causes and symptoms often begin within three months of the event. In some situations, they don't emerge until years later. The severity and duration of PTSD can vary from person to person. Some recover within six months, while others take time.
PTS symptoms causes are categorized into four main types, such as:
|Symptoms||What it entails|
|Reliving||People who suffer from PTSD relive the ordeal through memories of trauma. These may contain flashbacks, nightmares, and hallucinations. They also may feel intense stress when remind of certain things about trauma.|
|Avoiding||The affected person may avoid people, places, situations, or thoughts that remind them of trauma. It can lead to their feelings of isolation and detachment from family and friends.|
|Increased arousal||It includes intense emotions, problems related to others, such as feeling or showing affection, difficulty staying or falling asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, and being "jumpy." Its physical symptoms are increased blood pressure, heart rate, rapid breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.|
|Negative cognitions and mood||It refers to feelings and thoughts related to blame, memories, and embarrassment of traumatic events. Young children may have delayed development such as toilet training and language.|
Intensity of Symptoms
PTSD symptoms can differ in intensity. You may have more symptoms when stressed or come across reminders of what you went through. For instance, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. You may see a report on the news regarding a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.
Diagnosis of PTSD
The main criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD listed in the DSM-5 are exposure to one or more traumatic events, which is described as one that involves actual or threatened injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence.Experiencing any event could be direct, but it doesn't have to be. Exposure could also be indirect, such as:
- Noticing the event as it happened to someone else
- Learning about an event where a friend or relative experienced an actual or threatened violence or death
- Having repeated exposure to distressing segments of an event
Once the exposure has occurred, PTSD symptoms are evaluated for a diagnosis.
DSM-5 PTSD Diagnosis
The following criteria should be met to be diagnosed with PTSD:
- Exposure to the traumatic event
- One or more intrusion symptom(s)
- One or more avoidance symptom(s)
- Two or more symptoms of negative changes in mood
- Two or more symptoms of changes in arousal or reactivity
- Remain for longer than one month
- Bring about considerable distress or interfere with various areas of life
- Not due to a medical condition or substance use
These symptoms also must:
PTSD Risk Factors
People of all age groups can have PTSD. However, some factors make you more likely to develop PTSD, such as:
- Having faced any trauma earlier in childhood, such as childhood abuse
- Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
- Difficulty breathing
- Having mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety
- Having problems with substance use, such as drugs or alcohol use
- Lack of family and friend support
- Having family members with mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety
PTSD treatment can help you recover a sense of control over your life. Psychotherapy is the primary treatment, but medication can also be helpful.
Several types of therapy are used to treat children and adults experiencing PTSD. Therapies that use in PTSD are:
- Cognitive therapy
This talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking that keep you stuck. For example, negative beliefs about yourself and the risk of traumatic events happening again.
- Exposure therapy
This behavioral therapy helps you face situations and memories that are frightening. It can be helpful for nightmares and flashbacks.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of eye movements that help you process traumatic flashbacks and change how you respond to them.
- Stress Inoculation Therapy:
It aims to arm the person with the coping skills to defend against stressful triggers through exposure to milder stress levels, much like a vaccine is inoculated to prevent infection after exposure to an illness.
- Group Therapy:
It enables survivors of similar traumatic events to share their experiences and reactions in a comfortable environment. Family therapy may also be helpful because the behavior and distress of the person with PTSD can affect the whole family.
Getting an Online Doctor Consultation through Telehealth Services at Omni Help
Health services are not accessible for many right now due to the emerging public health situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are fearful of exposing themselves to infection with a history of medical issues. But, you shouldn't leave PTSD untreated as it can be extremely harmful to your mental and physical health. It can affect your daily life and impact your relationships.
If you have any of the PTSD symptoms mentioned above and do not want to go out, we suggest you see a doctor online. You can discuss prescriptions, renew them, better understand your conditions and medications, or discuss anything else related to your condition.
If you want to talk to a doctor online right now or set up a virtual doctor appointment, click down below.
The ability to continue working with PTSD depends on the severity, frequency, and duration of the symptoms you experience. PTSD symptoms affect your ability to work, and with the right medication and psychotherapy, you can focus on your work and daily routine.
Children can have an intense reaction to trauma, but their symptoms may not same. In younger children, the symptoms include bedwetting, unable to talk, and being clingy with parents. Older children have symptoms more like adults, such as disruptive or destructive behavior.
To diagnose PTSD, a mental health professional will look for at least one recurring, one avoidance, two arousal, and two cognition and mood symptoms. Moreover, blood tests also help in diagnosing PTSD. These symptoms need to be present for at least one month.
Some people recover from PTSD within six months duration, while others have symptoms that last longer. The time duration of someone has PTSD symptoms is based on the severity of the disorder, and it varies from one person to another.
If someone around you has PTSD, you can help them by learning about the disorder. So you know what to expect and what your loved one is experiencing. You can encourage them to get professional treatment. Support their recovery by inviting them to peaceful activities. And above all, be patient.
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