Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) once referred to as shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a severe condition that can happen after a person has undergone or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was treated. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness or horror, such as sexual or physical assault, the sudden death of a loved one, a disaster, war or natural disaster. Families of victims can also manifest PTSD as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.
The majority of people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include nervousness, guilt, shock anger. These reactions are prevalent, and for most people, they go away over time. For people with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming incredibly powerful so that they keep these from living a normal lifestyle. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and are unable to function as well as before the event occurred.
What Is the Symptoms of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD ordinarily start within three months of the event. In some cases, h PTSD may not be until several years later. The severity and duration of the illness differ, Some individuals recover within six months while others suffer much longer.
Symptoms of PTSD frequently are grouped into four main categories, include;
Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include hallucinations, nightmares, and flashbacks. They may so make a person fell high levels of distress when specific elements evoke memories of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the incident.
Avoiding The individual may avoid places, people, thoughts or situations that remind them of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of indifference and isolation from friends and family, as well as a lack of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
Increased arousal: These constitute excessive emotions: problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outburst of anger; difficulty concentration; and being “jumpy: or easily started. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
Negative Cognition and Mood: This refers to feelings and thoughts associated with blame, segment, and memories of the traumatic event.
Who Gets PTSD?
Each person reacts to traumatic situations differently. Every person is unique in his or her ability to manage stress or fear and to cope with the threat that is posed by a traumatic situation or event. For this reason, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Additionally the type of support and help that a person receives from friends, family members and professional following the trauma may influence the development of PTSD or the severity of symptoms.
PTSD was first brought to the attention of the medical community by war veterans; hence the names shell shock and battle fatigue syndrome. However, PTSD can occur in anybody who has experienced a traumatic event that threatens violence or death. People who have been victimized as children or who have been reported exposed to life treating stations are at greater risk for developing PTSD. Victims of trauma related to physical and sexual assault face the highest risk for PTSD.
How common is PTSD?
Nearly 3.6% of adults Americans 0 about 5.2 million people – have PTSD during a year, and an approximated 7.8 million Americans will endure PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD can develop at any age, as well as childhood. Women are more inclined to develop PTSD than are men. This may be because women are more predisposed to be victims of abuse, domestic violence, and rape.
How is PTSD Diagnosed?
PTSD is not diagnosed until one-month minimally has passed since the time a traumatic incident has occurred. If signs of PTSD are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a comprehensive medical history and physical exam. Although there is no one lab test to accurately diagnose PTSD, the doctor ay use the various test to rule out physical illness as the cause the symptoms.
If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist, mental health professional or psychologist, who are qualified to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologist use specially designed interview and evaluation tools to evaluate a person for an anxiety disorder. The physician forms his or her diagnosis of PTSD on reported symptoms, including problems with functioning caused by the symptoms. The doctor the determines if the symptoms and degree of dysfunction indicate PTSD. PTSD is diagnosed if the person has symptoms of PTSD that last for more than one month.
Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The primary goal of PTSD treatment is to reduce the emotional and physical symptoms, produced by the disorder or as well as improve daily functioning and to help a person or with the event(s) that triggered the disorder. Treatment for PTSD may involve psychotherapy which is a type of Counseling), medication or both.
Physicians use antidepressant medications to treat PTSD – and to control the feeling of anxiety and its related symptoms. These medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Celexa, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil and Zoloft: and tricyclic antidepressants such as Doxepin and Elavil, Tranquilizers such as Klonopin and Ativan; mood stabilizers such as Lamictal and Depakote; and neuroleptics such as Abilify and Seroquel are sometimes used. Particular blood pressure medicines are also sometimes used to control particular symptoms. An example would be prazosin which may be used in cases of nightmares or prazosin may be used for nightmares, or propranolol can bu used to help minimize the formation of traumatic memories.
Psychotherapy for PTSD entails helping the person learn critical skills that can assist in managing the symptoms as well as coping. Therapy goal is also to teach a person and his or her family more about the disorder and help them work through the fears related to the traumatic event. There are a variety fo psychotherapy approaches that are used to treat people with PTSD including:
Cognitive behavioral therapy involves learning to recognize and alter certain thought patterns that lead to problematic emotions, behavior, and feelings.
Exposure therapy – this is a type of cognitive behavior therapy that includes haveing the person re-live the traumatic experience, or exposing the persons to objects or situations that cause anxiety. This is done in a well-controlled and safe environment. Exposure therapy helps the person confront the dear and gradually become more comfortable with situations that are frightening and cause any. This has been very effective at treating PTSD.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on helping the person examine emotional conflicts and personal values affected by the traumatic event.
Family therapy can be effective because the behavior of the person with PTSD can have and effect on other individuals of the family.
Group therapy may be useful by allowing the person to share thoughts. Feelings and fears with other people who have experienced traumatic events.
Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing EMDR is a complex form of psychotherapy that was initially designed to alleviate distress related to traumatic memories and now is used to treat phobia.
What is the Recovery for People with PTSD?
Recovery from PTSD is an ongoing and gradual process. Traits of PTSD rarely disappear fully. However, treatment can assist sufferers to learn to cope more effectively. Treatment can allow for fewer cases and less intense symptoms. The Person also can cope better with managing feeling related to the trauma.
Research is ongoing into the factors that lead to PTSD and into finding new treatments
Can PTSD be prevented?
Some studies propose that early intervention with people who have suffered a trauma may reduce some of the symptoms of PTSD or prevent it all together.