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.
PTSD statistics are frightening… Approximately 7.7 million American adults aged 18 and older, or about 3.5 per cent of people in this age group in a given year, have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can strike one at any age, even though the average age of its onset has been established at 23.
So, it is highly possible that either you or some of your loved ones suffer from PTSD. PTSD makes the victim remember the unfortunate event constantly, and in turn, spoils his present too. A PTSD victim remains angry, depressed or guilty most of the times. PTSD could even lead to loss of employment, substance or alcohol abuse or even social isolation.
What are the symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
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:
1. Unable to or forget how to talk.
2. Reacting to the scary event while playing .
3. Being anxious or dependent on the parent or any adult.
4. They might wet the bed even after learning how to use the toilet.
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 of causing PTSD…
1. Seeing a dead body
2. Some childhood trauma
3. Hurt or offended from a situation
4. Feeling horror, helpless and fearful
5. Experiencing a hazardous event or trauma
6. No social support after the unfortunate event
7. Stress due to loss of loved ones or pain or loss or job
8. Some mental illness in the past or experiencing an abusive situation
Treatments for PTSD
There are different therapies for different symptoms causing PTSD thought Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy is most commonly used. The doctor may also combine different therapies to make the best one for his patient’s needs.
Every person has gone through a different situation which is why one has to be treated differently. Thus, it is better to visit an experienced health provider to cure PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
PTSD tendencies like suicidal feelings, depressions, panic disorders, substance abuse are some problems that 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.
Why the Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy? The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 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.
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.
5. Alternative methods help
Alternate methods of healing like yoga, tai chi, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises can help rewire the brain neutron circuitry.
How to treat yourself out of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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:
1. Give your life a goal to achieve
2. Talk about your problem with your doctor
3. Get busy doing exercises or mild physical activities
4. Look for situations, activities, places that give you peace. Spend more time doing the same.
5. Do not expect the symptoms to evade immediately. Give it time and console yourself saying you’ll be fine.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. A person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 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.
This PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) article is generic and indicative in nature and should not be taken as an experts opinion on hows and whats of PTSD.
To know more about its management, please consult a professional… Attend related classes, lectures, workshops, retreats and/or courses. All the Best!