Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a problem that is found in people who might have experienced some severe shock or undergone a terrifying event.
Though it is natural to be afraid after such a traumatic situation, the fear sometimes completely stays back in our mind and body, making us remain edgy, frightened, stressed, disturbed even when there isnt any hazardous situation.
What are the symptoms of PTSD
It is not every person who is traumatised will have PTSD, and it is again not necessary that every human being who has PTSD has gone through an unfortunate situation. One will realise the symptoms within 3 months or so with a hindered effect on other relationships, personal life and work. One might also suffer from illness at this time.
Ideally, the PTSD recovery period for some is just 6 months, but for some, it may go on for years. So, the conditions and symptoms vary from person to person. An experienced psychologist or a psychiatrist can help you detect PTSD.
Get the victim diagnosed with PTSD if you see the following happening for at least 1 month (for adults)
1. Constant reminders of the problem
One may have a flashback of the trauma. This can be identified with fast heart beats or sweating. They might also experience terrifying thoughts or bad dreams again and again. Recalling these problems each and every time disturbs the everyday routine of the person. His own thoughts and feelings ruin his daily life.
2. Avoiding symptoms
The person might always prefer staying away from events, places and objects as they continuously remind him about the unfortunate experience. The individual might also avoid anything that reminds him of the traumatic incident which might again have an effect in his personal routine. For example, a person avoids driving a car if the trauma was about a car accident.
3. Provocation and reactivity
Here, one quickly gets frightened, feels tensed, finds difficulty to sleep or might even have angry outbursts. The person feels angry and stressed all the time. They make it hard for themselves to do anything everyday day be it eating, sleeping or concentrating on work.
4. Mood and thoughts
The individual might feel troubled in recalling about the shocking event. All he does is feels cynical about himself as well as the world. His feelings are filled with blame and guilt. He gains no interest in the activities that he used to enjoy earlier. This symptom is mostly seen after detachment with the loved ones or when the feeling of being isolated.
If you find people going through these symptoms for 1-2 weeks, it is called acute stress disorder. However, if it goes on for more than a month, then it may result in medical illness known as PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD in children
Compared to the same disorder in adults, kids and teens have a higher effect of the trauma. Let us talk about symptoms in very small children less than 6 years:
- They might wet the bed even after learning how to use the toilet.
- Unable to or forget how to talk.
- Reacting to the scary event while playing .
- Being anxious or dependent on the parent or any adult.
The older kids or teens on the other hand show symptoms alike the adults. They might turn out to be disrespectful, develop destructive behaviour, or might hold some guilt for not being able to prevent the death or injury. They might also show up a feeling or revenge. Thus, depending on what has caused the trauma, people behave differently.
Some people develop PTSD, and some do not…
This is because of the different risk factors which cause the disorder. Let us find out what are the risk or tough factors causing PTSD:
The Risk Factors
- Experiencing a hazardous event or trauma
- Hurt or offended from a situation
- Seeing a dead body
- Some childhood trauma
- Feeling horror, helpless and fearful
- No social support after the unfortunate event
- Stress due to loss of loved ones or pain or loss or job
- Some mental illness in the past or experiencing an abusive situation
Treatments for PTSD
Medications and psychotherapy are the two treatments to deal with PTSD. Every person has gone through a different situation which is why one has to be treated differently. However, the effectiveness of treatments among doctors is better developed once they have experienced such patients. Thus, it is better to visit an experienced health provider to cure PTSD.
Suicidal feelings, depressions, panic disorders, substance abuse, are some problems that will need immediate treatments.
The medications for PTSD include antidepressants if one shows symptoms of worry, anger, sadness, numb, depressed, etc. Moreover, these medications might be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Though not FDA approved, research shows Prazosin to be really helpful to cure sleeping issues, especially overcoming bad dreams.
2. Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy
This is also known as talk therapy. This involves a conversation with mental health expert who’ll help you treat your mental issues. The psychotherapy might be one to one or in a group depending on the situation. This therapy may last for 6-12 weeks or even longer again based on the situation. However, it is imperative for the family and friends to be supportive and positive with the patient during recovery.
There are different therapies for different symptoms causing PTSD. The doctor may also combine different therapies to make the best one for his patient’s needs. These therapies are opted after being educated about the symptoms, learning the underlying problem, etc. For example:
3. Exposure therapy
This is to help people face the fear. It basically puts them into the same trauma they experienced but in a safe way. This is usually done with imaginations, visiting the place where the incident happened or writing. The therapist helps the patient cope up with their fearful feelings.
4. Cognitive restructuring
Sometimes people remembers situation differently from what really had happened. They might be considering themselves guilty for something they don’t have to. In this case, the patient is made to realise what had actually happened and why they aren’t responsible. The therapist helps the patient look at the event in a realistic way.
Why the Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy?
The talk therapy primarily teaches the victim about the trauma and its effects, helps the person relax and manage his anger, talk about the situation making is better and getting rid of the negatives of the event.
The therapists provide essential tips to sleep better, go on with the daily routine, exercise, get rid of the guilt or shame feeling. The therapies help people learn to face the PTSD symptoms and get stronger without evading them.
How to treat yourself
Though it is really hard to get over the problem ourselves, it is never impossible. Never hesitate to visit your doctor asking for help. Also, read the following tips to get rid of the trauma. If your loved ones seem to suffer from the same, help them feel better:
- Talk about your problem with your doctor
- Get busy doing exercises or mild physical activities
- Give your life a goal to achieve
- If you have to perform some large tasks, they might seem confusing at this point. Break them into small chunks, set priorities and do as much as you can. However, do not stress up.
- Spend enough time with your family and friends but only the ones you can trust and rely upon. Share your symptoms of the trigger with them.
- Look for situations, activities, places that give you peace. Spend more time doing the same.
- Do not expect the symptoms to evade immediately. Give it time and console yourself saying you’ll be fine
A person with PTSD needs help. He needs the care of his loved ones. So be there for them for it is only you who can help them recover faster.